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This Is Israel 



THIS IS ISRAEL 



Palestine: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 



by 
THEODORE HUEBENER, PH.D., 

mipi p* 

Director of Foreign Languages 

in the Schools of the City of New York 

Lecturer, New York University 

and 
CARL HERMANN VOSS, PH.D., 

Chairman, Executive Council, 

American Christian Palestine Committee 

Lecturer, New School for Social Research 




PHILOSOPHICAL LIBRARY 



Copyright, 1956, by Philosophical Library, Inc. 
15 East 40th Street, New York 16, N.Y. 



All rights reserved 



Printed in the United States of America 



Preface 



IN writing this book the authors have attempted to present a color- 
ful but accurate- picture of the emergence of Israel out of its Pales- 
tinian background. 

Beginning with the migration of Abraham to Canaan, the career 
of the Jews throughout history is briefly traced, the main emphasis 
being placed on Zionist aspirations and their final fulfillment in 
1948. 

After presenting the historical development of Israel, a descrip- 
tion is given of the major achievements and the more significant 
institutions of the new state. 

The serious problems facing the young republic are pointed out 
and possible solutions are suggested. With reference to all contro- 
versial issues and there are, unfortunately, manythe authors 
have attempted to examine the facts in a spirit of fairness and sym- 
pathetic understanding. An interpretation acceptable to all is prac- 
tically impossible, since a number of the differences are obviously 
irreconcilable. 

In an effort to be as impartial as possible, the authors called upon a 
considerable number of scholars and writers both Jewish and 
Christian to read the manuscript. Of those who so generously 
gave of their time and thought, special mention should be made of 
the following: Dr. J. Coert Rylaarsdam and Dr. James Luther 
Adams of the Federated Theological Faculty of the University of 
Chicago; Dr. Guy Davis of Chapman College, Orange, California; 



vi PREFACE 

Dr. Solomon B. Freehof, rabbi of Temple Rodeph Shalom, Pitts- 
burgh, Pennsylvania; Dr. Judd L. Teller, author of Scapegoat of 
Revolution; and Mr. Gerold Frank, author and journalist. 

Both authors have made intensive study tours of the Middle East, 
have spoken personally with many leading figures in the area, and 
have read widely in the literature on the subject. Aside from the 
wealth of facts contained in the following pages, it is hoped that 
the book will deepen the reader's appreciation of the centuries 
of anguish that led to the establishment of Israel and of the unique 
contribution of that brave little state to human worth and dignity. 

T. H. 
G H. V. 



Contents 



Page 

I. Ancient Israel 1 

1. The Patriarchs 1 

2. The Hebrews and the Philistines 2 

3. Moses and the Exodus 3 

4. The Conquest and the Kingdom 4 

5. The Monarchy: Saul, David and Solomon 5 

6. Destruction of the Divided Kingdom 6 

7. The Hebrew Prophets 8 

8. The Law 9 

9. Foreign Influences 11 

10. The Romans in Palestine 12 

11. Jesus of Nazareth 13 

12. The Rise of Christianity 16 

13. Judea Capta and Bar-Kochba 17 

14. The Patriarchate 18 

15. The Samaritans 19 

16. Galuth 20 

17. Last Days of Roman Rule 20 



YU 



viii CONTENTS 

Page 

II. Palestine under the Moslems 22 

1. Mohammed and Islam 22 

2. The Arab Invasion of Palestine 25 

3. Jewish Scholarly Activities 28 

4. The Turkish Conquest 29 

5. The Crusades 31 

6. Palestine Under Egyptian Rule 35 

7. The Jewish Community 36 

8. Palestine Islamized 36 

9. The Ottoman Turks 37 



III. The Development of Zionism 39 

1. Plans To Restore Zion 39 

2. Beginnings of Modern Palestine 42 

3. Attempts at Colonization 44 

4. English Interest in the Return 45 

5. East European Phase of Zionism 46 

6. Theodor Herzl 48 

7. Modern Zionism 50 

8. Aaron David Gordon 53 

9. Eliezer Ben Yehuda 57 



IV. The Struggle for the Homeland 63 

1. Foreign Interests in Palestine 63 

2. The Outbreak of World War I 65 

3. Rival Claims 67 



CONTENTS ix 

Page 

4. The Zionist Stake in Palestine 69 

5. The British Administration, 1918-1930 71 

6. Immigration and Settlement 73 

7. Henrietta Szold 77 

V. Zionism Victorious 86 

1. Conflicts with Arabs and English 86 

2. The Fighters for Freedom 87 

3. Partition 89 

4. Israel Reborn 90 

5. Arab Versus Jew 90 

6. War 91 

7. Victory 92 

8. Chaim Weizmann 93 

9. David Ben-Gurion 96 

VI. Eretz Israel 99 

1. Geography 99 

2. The Dead Sea Comes to Life 103 

3. The Negev: The Desert Is Made To Bloom 105 

4. Dauntless Tel Aviv 108 

5. Beautiful Haifa 109 

6. Jerusalem The Holy City 110 

7. Arab Towns 116 

8. A Bit of Bavaria in Israel 118 

9. Mixture of Old and New 119 



x CONTENTS 

Page 

VII. Israel: A Ne<w Way of Life 120 

1. The Cooperative Settlements 120 

2. Education in Israel: "Pressure Cooker" 124 

3. Histadruth A Creative Labor Movement 130 

4. Hadassah-The Health of a People 135 

5. Farm and Factory 140 

6. Israel's Cultural Life 145 

7. The Promised Land Restored 148 

VHI. Israel's Struggle for Survival 150 

1. Persistent Problems 150 

2. The Lack of Peace 150 

3. Cultural and Religious Integration 151 

4. The Zionist Outside Israel 153 

5. The Arab Minority 154 

6. Israel Versus the Arab World 156 

7. Important Factors to Consider 158 

8. Concession to Be Made 159 

9. Israel's Great Opportunity 161 

Suggested Reading List 163 

Index 166 



I 

Ancient Israel 



1. The Patriarchs 

"Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and -from 
thy -father's house unto a land that I 'will show thee; and I 
will make of thee a great nation; and I will bless thee and 
make thy name great, and thou shah be a blessing . . ." 

WITH these words, ostensibly coining from the very mouth of 
God, the author of Genesis 12: 1 bestows an aura of divine sanction 
upon the migration of the patriarch Abraham to the land of Canaan. 

Abraham is one of the most fascinating figures in Hebrew folk- 
lore. The colorful account of his exploits, set down centuries later, 
has undeniable literary charm. It records that, perhaps as early as 
1800 years before the Christian era, Abraham and his household 
left Ur, a Persian Gulf city in southern Babylonia, and, traveling 
northwest through the "Fertile Crescent," reached Haran in upper 
Mesopotamia, some five hundred miles away. After a brief stay, 
these roving Bedouins for such they really were continued west 
and south in search of the "promised land," arriving finally in the 
Plain of Moreh in the land of Canaan. Near a site, which in later 
centuries was to be named Shechem, Abraham, the intrepid nomad 
chieftain, and his clan pitched their tents, pastured their herds of 
sheep and cattle, and erected a primitive altar to their tribal god. 

The country into which these strange wanderers came had wit- 
nessed migration after migration of various peoples. Still more were 
to follow. About 3500 B.C. the tall, Semitic Amorites had moved 



2 THIS Is ISRAEL 

out of the desert into the highlands along the fertile coast. A thou- 
sand years later, two other Semitic peoples came in to the area, the 
Phoenicians and the Canaanites. The Phoenicians settled on the 
coastal plain west of Mt. Lebanon and founded Byblos, Tyre and 
Sidon. The Canaanites established themselves in the lowlands be- 
tween the Leontes River on the north to the Negev Desert on the 
south. From the second of these two peoples the land derived its 
early name, Canaan. 

The Canaanites whom Abraham and his followers encountered 
were an advanced people. They maintained prosperous farms, lived 
in fortified cities and had well-established independent local gov- 
ernments. They accepted the newcomers only as tolerated stran- 
gers. On occasion, when disputes arose, it was necessary for the 
nomads to flee from the wrath of the native population. 

Another people who came to Canaan in early times probably 
less than 500 years after the arrival of the Canaanites were the 
Hittites. Little is known of these invaders from the north. An in- 
teresting confirmation of their presence, however transitional it 
may have been, is found in Genesis 23 where we are told that Abra- 
ham purchased a burial field from a Hittite. The legendary char- 
acter of the narrative need not discount the fact of quite amicable 
relations between the Hittite selling the land and the nomadic patri- 
arch buying it. 

It is doubtless correct to consider Abraham an Aramean, a pre- 
cursor of the wider Aramean migration which was to follow, and 
thus rightly the forefather of the Hebrew people. The story of 
Sarah and Hagar, who bore Abraham's sons Isaac and Ishmacl, re- 
spectively, may be regarded as an effort to explain the descent of 
Hebrews and Bedouins from a common ancestor. So, too, may 
the description of the twelve sons of Jacob as progenitors of the 
twelve tribes of Israel be accepted as an earnest endeavor by later 
Hebrew writers to formalize their national origins. 

2. The Hebrews and the Philistines 

The larger Aramean migration into Canaan began about the mid- 
dle of the second millennium B.C. and continued intermittently for 
perhaps 300 years. Around 1200 B.C. this invasion was joined ap- 
parently by descendants of the patriarchs who had lived for 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 3 

generations in the Nile Delta, and who, under Moses, had escaped 
Egyptian persecution. How this composite group came to be called 
Hebrew is uncertain. Tradition has it that the name stems from the 
Biblical "Eber," a relatively unimportant figure who is mentioned 
in Genesis 10:21. Recent archeological finds, however, suggest that 
it may be derived from the Egyptian word, "Habini, " i.e., "those 
who cross over," in this instance those who crossed over the Jor- 
dan River. The Hebrew equivalent is ivri. 

At the same time, another and more formidable invader arrived. 
The Philistines, non-Semites from the island of Crete, settled along 
the southern coastal plain and founded Gaza, Ashkelon and Ash- 
dod. Like the Canaanites, they had an advanced culture and pos- 
sessed metal weapons and chariots. One of the most exciting stories 
in the Bible pictures the Philistine giant, Goliath, dressed in a coat 
of mail and brandishing a heavy iron spear, advancing upon the 
Hebrew shepherd lad, David, who has chosen to arm himself with 
only a sling. 

It was Philistine control of much of Canaan that gave that land 
its name Palestine. 

3. Moses and the Exodus 

We have spoken of the escape of Abraham's descendants from 
Egypt. Why they went there and how they ultimately returned to 
Canaan is of more than passing interest. 

Their migration seems to have been caused by a widespread fam- 
ine about the fifteenth century B.C., which drove them to Egypt, 
where lands suitable for the support of their herds were available. 
The well-known story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) is a Hebrew folk- 
tale which graphically describes this movement. 

These "Hebrews" who entered Egypt settled in the land of Go- 
shen in the Nile Delta. After generations of peaceful existence they 
were enslaved by an overly zealous pharaoh, probably Ramses II. 
After Ramses' death, they were led out of bondage by Moses. Their 
deliverance from Egypt, the Exodus, was regarded in later Hebrew 
thought as an event of primary religious significance. 

Thereafter, they wandered for forty years in the desert wastes 
near the Red Sea, undergoing severe deprivations. During this pe- 
riod, Moses' great personality as an intrepid, heroic leader asserted 



4 THIS Is ISRAEL 

itself. The book of Exodus relates how he unified his followers, 
maintained their courage, and directed their thinking to important 
religious and ethical concepts. It was Moses who first codified He- 
brew laws. Fragments of the Mosaic Code were later embodied 
into the Pentateuch. Through his persuasion the "children of Is- 
rael" adopted Yahweh (Jehovah), who gave Moses the Ten Com- 
mandments on Mt. Sinai, as their god. Just as they had chosen Yah- 
weh, so, they believed, He had chosen them as His special people. 

Thus the Hebrews moved, at least in theory, from polytheism, 
the worship of many gods, to henotheism, the belief that they, as a 
people, possessed a god who was theirs alone, in a universe where 
other gods existed. This was a long step forward on the road to 
complete monotheism. 

Not all of Moses' followers appreciated the higher ideals estab- 
lished for them. Many resented the hardships of desert life and 
longed for the comparative comforts of Egypt. Even as their stern 
leader "confronted God directly" atop Mt. Sinai, some of the less 
reliable among them, encouraged by Moses' brother Aaron, danced 
gayly around the idol of the golden calf, symbol of the Egyptian 
Apis cult Upon his descent from the mountain, Moses dealt sum- 
marily with the unfaithful by putting them to the sword. Despite 
his great contributions, Moses himself was never to enter the "prom- 
ised land." Having viewed Canaan from Mt. Nebo, he died and was 
buried east of the Salt Sea in Moab, ". . , over against Bcthpeor, 
but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." 

4. The Conquest and the Kingdom 

Moses' successor, the doughty warrior Joshua, led his forces 
across the Jordan to besiege and capture Jericho and other Ca- 
naanite strongholds. He was a skilful leader. The invasion he began 
was continued by others through more than a century of bloody 
warfare. The Hebrews streamed into the land and settled it, driving 
out or subjugating the natives. 

The Hebrew tribes had no central political authority and were 
separated from each other by geographic barriers and clan loyalties. 
Local leaders called "judges" arose in times of crisis. Among these 
were Gideon and Samson who achieved renown in the face of 
threats from Midianites and Philistines. The writer of the Book of 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 5 

Judges aptly sums up the political situation of the period by ob- 
serving that "in those days there was no king in Israel; every man 
did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) 

Religious conflict was inevitable in that the religion of the Ca- 
naanites and other conquered peoples was essentially a form of 
"Baalism." Some of the Judges accepted the worship of Baal and 
Ashtarte (Baal's goddess-consort) while others continued to wor- 
ship Yahweh a controversy that was not to reach final solution 
for five hundred years. 

The last important Judge was Samuel, a devout and influential 
priest. Due to continuing military defeats and the insistence of his 
colleagues who sought protection in an organized state, Samuel 
anointed a tall, young soldier, Saul, to be the first king of the He- 
brews. 

5. The Monarchy : Saul, David and Solomon 

The united kingdom of Israel, thus established, survived less 
than two centuries, embracing the reigns of Saul, David and Solo- 
mon. 

Saul both succeeded and failed. He justified the concept of king- 
ship by winning over lesser foes, but his victory over the Philis- 
tines was temporary. He united some of the tribes and extended 
the national boundaries, but alienated the priests of Yahweh, the 
brilliant warrior David, and the tribe of Judah. His last years wit- 
nessed a sad decline, both personally and in his role as king. After 
the Philistines had won the bloody battle of Alt, Gilboa, he took 
his own life in despair. 

Samuel, dissatisfied with Saul, had meanwhile anointed David, a 
young and popular warrior, as the second king. Extolled as the 
greatest of Hebrew rulers, David assumed the throne about 1000 
B.C. Under his administration Israel attained its widest boundaries 
and its greatest security. David conquered the Philistines and con- 
fined them permanently to their coastal plain. After the land was 
united, he captured Jerusalem. It became not only the capital of 
the short-lived Hebrew monarchy, but for all time the Holy City of 
Judaism, and later for Christianity and Islam as well. 

Under David the kingdom of Israel prospered. He made lasting 
contributions to Hebrew culture. To him are credited or dedicated 



6 THIS Is ISRAEL 

many lovely psalms, including the beautiful "shepherd psalm," 
Psalm 23, and the sensitive "Lament over Saul and Jonathan" found 
in II Samuel 1: 19-27. During his reign Yahwist prophets had a free 
voice, even to criticize the king's conduct. Later Biblical writers 
saw in David despite his apparent moral limitations the proto- 
type of the hoped-for Messiah. 

Solomon, son of David and Bathsheba and third king of Israel, 
inherited a well-filled treasury and was able to indulge his extrav- 
agant tastes to the full. He built a sumptuous palace for himself; 
in addition he erected a magnificent temple to Yahweh on Alt. 
Moriah in Jerusalem. There the "Ark of the Covenant," an elabo- 
rately decorated container denoting the presence of Yahweh, was 
installed in an inner sanctuary between gold cherubim. 

Despite his reputed wisdom, Solomon was soon corrupted by 
power. Like any Oriental despot, he gathered an immense harem 
of seven hundred wives (many from foreign nations, to whose 
gods he built temples), and three hundred concubines. He taxed 
the -people heavily and inequitably, established a forced labor sys- 
tem, imported apes and peacocks to amuse the court, and traded 
Hebrews into slavery for race-horses. Even before his death, both 
his kingdom and his authority had begun a swift and fateful 
decline. 

6. Destruction of the Divided Kingdom 

When Solomon died, the kingdom was split by revolt into two 
parts: Israel, with Samaria as its capital, in the north; Judah, with 
its capital at Jerusalem, in the south, a division that was to prove 
disastrous. 

Struggles between Israel and Judah, wars with the neighboring 
kingdoms of Damascus and Moab, and raids and political pres- 
sures by Egyptian pharaohs marked the decades that followed. 
Religious strife blazed into open warfare. On Mt. Carmcl the rug- 
ged Yahwist prophet Elijah won "a contest of miracles" and there- 
upon slaughtered nine hundred priests of Baal and Ashtartc, pa*ss- 
ing on to his successor Elisha an oath to destroy the crafty Baalist 
Queen Jezebel. Widespread social injustice and international in- 
trigue set the stage for vigorous but usually unheeded protests by 
such prophets as Amos, Hosea, Micah and Isaiah* 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 7 

The northern Kingdom survived slighdy more than two hundred 
years. Out of the east came the Assyrians, bent on world con- 
quest. Besieged by Shalmaneser V, Samaria fell in 722 B.C., and 
more than 27,000 Israelites were carried into bondage and oblivion. 
In their place the Assyrians resettled captives from other parts of 
their empire and so provided a basis for the later conflict between 
Jews and "Samaritans." The dispersed inhabitants of the northern 
kingdom became "the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel." 

Judah was not destroyed. Instead it became a vassal of Assyria. 
The century that followed saw continuing dispute over how the 
Judeans should deal with the Assyrians, and whether the Assyrian 
religion (the name Assyrian comes from the goddess Ashtarte) or 
Yahwism should prevail. In 621 B.C. a sweeping Yahwist reform 
was carried out by King Josiah, and the "Deuteronomic Code" was 
instituted. This represented a substantial ethical advance, but it 
was too late to save Judah. 

Toward the end of the seventh century the Assyrians weakened 
and their place as a world power was taken by the Neo-Babylonians 
under Nebuchadrezzar. The fleeing Assyrians and Egyptians, to 
whom the Judeans had looked for help, against the advice of the 
prophet Jeremiah were defeated by the new conqueror at Car- 
chemishin605B.c. 

The end was in sight for Judah. In deepest sorrow but with high 
courage, Jeremiah declared the folly of resistance. His pleas were 
rejected by king and people, while "false prophets" insisted that 
the holy city of Jerusalem was inviolable. Three years after the 
turn of the sixth century, Nebuchadrezzar struck, deporting ten 
thousand leading citizens and establishing a pro-Chaldean kingship. 

Again a dispute arose between those who wished to revolt and 
those, who, like Jeremiah, foresaw the consequences of insurrec- 
tion. The prophet dramatically pointed out the futility of such an 
action, but the king was unmoved. Nebuchadrezzar descended 
upon Jerusalem. In 586 B.C. he captured the city, reducing it to 
rubble and carrying away most of the survivors into exile in 
Babylon. The worst that the prophets had predicted for the Holy 
City had happened. The Hebrew kingdoms, north and south, were 
no more. 



8 THIS Is ISRAEL 

7. The Hebrew Prophets 

More important for later generations than the survival of the tiny 
Hebrew kingdom was the development of the prophetic element 
within its religion. The Hebrew prophets were dedicated spokes- 
men for Yahweh. In times of crisis they made their witness 
known and on such occasions acted as censors of national and per- 
sonal conduct. When necessary they took part in politics. 

The fearlessness with which they spoke even to longs testifies 
to their authority. The familiar instance wherein Nathan dared to 
condemn King David publicly for his sin with Bathsheba is a most 
graphic example. (II Samuel, ch. 11, 12) 

The message of the prophets had a content to match their cour- 
age. Amos, the earliest literary prophet, affronted the people of 
Bethel, by denouncing their luxury and revelry. According to the 
justice of God, he said, their moral excesses and unconcern for the 
poor would lead to doom! His more gentle contemporary, Hosea, 
also warned the Israelites. He, however, emphasized the fact that 
God was a God of love, willing to forgive wicked and unfaithful 
Israel. 

The ideal of universal peace is beautifully expressed in a quatrain 
by the prophet Micah: 

And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, 
And their spears into pruning hooks; 
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
Neither shall they learn war any more.* 

Most majestic of the prophets, Isaiah, pointed first to God's 
holiness, characterizing it as an ethical holiness that demands the 
best from men and nations. He also expressed his faith in the com- 
ing of a Messianic age of peace and harmony when he wrote: 

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb 

And the leopard shall lie down with the kid 

And the calf and the lion and the fading together, 

And a litde child shall lead them. (Is. 11:6.) 

*This oft-quoted verse, Micah 4:3, is now engraved on the wall of the 
United Nations headquarters in New York City. 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 9 

We have seen how Jeremiah made a valiant but unsuccessful 
effort to protect Jerusalem. Living in the time and circumstances 
that he did, it is small wonder that he has been described as "a man 
of sorrows and acquainted with grief." But even through suffering, 
he held fast to his faith in God's everlasting love, the restoration of 
Israel, and the coming of a new relationship of intimate understand- 
ing between God and man. It fell to Jeremiah and to his contem- 
porary and successor, Ezekiel, to postulate "the doctrine of indi- 
vidual responsibility," ie., that each person stands in God's sight 
as an individual rather than as a member of a family, nation or 
race, and is judged accordingly. 

Of all the Hebrew prophets, the noblest is undoubtedly Second 
Isaiah, the great "Unknown Prophet" who, in exile in Babylon, 
wrote the concluding chapters of the Book of Isaiah. It was he who 
came first to that universal concept which the prophet Jeremiah 
almost but never quite attawsmonotheism. There is but one 
God in all the universe. Yahweh is the Lord of Hosts! 

Beyond that, Second Isaiah presents a most profound religious 
concept in the atoning figure of the suffering servant. The truly 
good are those who give themselves for others. The evil are re- 
deemed through the suffering of the righteous. In the view of this 
sensitive interpreter, Israel in exile had assumed the tragic role of 
Yahweh's suffering servant. The Hebrew people are chosen people 
chosen not for special privileges but for service to mankind. 
Through them is "a light to be given to the Gentiles"; through 
them is all the world to be redeemed. 

The Hebrew prophets, men of highest spiritual endowment, 
came from every level of society. Their emphasis upon moral re- 
sponsibility in private and public life, and their interpretation of 
God's ineffable mercy and justice comprise a valuable contribution 
to the whole of Western culture.* 

8. The Law 

Fortunately for the captive Jews, Chaldea survived barely fifty 
years after the destruction of Jerusalem. The Persian Empire, des- 

* From this point forward, we shall, in accordance with custom, cease to 
speak of Hebrews and refer to Jews, the people of Judea. 



10 THIS Is ISRAEL 

tined to rule the world of the Middle East and even Egypt for two 
centuries, supplanted it The first great Persian monarch, Cyrus, 
reversed the policy of earlier conquerors and encouraged captive 
peoples to return to their homelands. 

Shortly thereafter, about 536 B.C., the first "Zionist movement" 
in history occurred as a small band of Jews made the long journey 
to Jerusalem. Other groups followed at intervals for more than a 
hundred and fifty years. When the first pilgrims, led by Zerubbabcl 
and the priest Joshua, reached the ruins of Jerusalem, they im- 
mediately set about the task of rebuilding the temple. Under the 
inspiration of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, enough work 
was completed to allow the dedication of the new shrine, the Sec- 
ond Temple, in 516 B.C. 

But the Exile had effected considerable change in Judaism, In 
Babylon, where no central sanctuary for Jewish worship was avail- 
able, the synagogue had come into being. This new way of worship 
offered simplicity, fellowship and religious immediacy; it elimi- 
nated the priestly caste. In Palestine the synagogue took its place 
alongside the temple worship it was one day destined to replace. 

Even more significant was the increased reverence for the Jewish 
Law, the Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew 
Bible. These reached their final form shortly after the Kxile pe- 
riod, and were declared to be sacred and canonical when the scribe 
Ezra read the Torah in an official public service in Jerusalem. From 
this time forward, the Jews began to be referred to as "the people 
of the Book." 

During the Exile, Jewish scholars encountered many bizarre 
concepts of the Chaldean and Persian religions. Despite their loy- 
alty to Torah, they brought back ideas of Heaven and Hell; the 
god of darkness, Ahriman or Satan, as opposed to the god of light, 
Ahura-Mazda; and apocalyptic beliefs vivid imagery concerning 
the imminent end of the world. These fell in easily with develop- 
ing Jewish Messianic expectations and found their way into such 
writings as the Biblical books of Daniel and Second Kzdras (the 
latter in the Apocrypha, i.e., "doubtful writings") and the non- 
canonical Book of Enoch. Some but certainly not all Jews of 
the centuries following the return to Jerusalem gave these unusual 
ideas serious attention. 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 11 

Many Jews chose to remain in Babylon. Eventually it became a 
center of Jewish culture and scholarship. 

9. Foreign Influences 

Persian rule over Palestine was usually gentle and remote. It 
ended in 333 B.C. when the young Macedonian warrior, Alexander 
the Great, swept through Palestine and east as far as the Indus 
River. Alexander's conquest brought far-reaching changes. Com- 
merce and travel increased rapidly. Greek and its culture spread 
everywhere. 

The large Jewish colony which developed in Alexandria was 
deeply influenced by Hellenic thought and custom. Before a cen- 
tury had passed, the Jews of Egypt could no longer read Hebrew 
adequately and so a Greek version of the Hebrew scripture was 
written. This translation was called the Septuagint, from the legend 
that seventy scholars had produced it. 

The Jews of Palestine reacted differently to Greek culture, and 
to the establishment of such Greek cities in and near their land as 
the Decapolis, a league of ten city-states in Peraea and northern 
Samaria. To remain unaffected by the freer Greek ways, dress, 
games and architecture became for them a crucial matter of reli- 
gious conviction. Although some Jews were Hellenized, especially 
the wealthier ones, the populace as a whole remained loyal to the 
Torahu 

After Alexander's death, the Egyptians and the Syrians fought 
over Palestine for more than a century. During this period, the 
land changed hands twenty-two times, with the Syrians finally 
winning unchallenged control. Defying the stubborn Jewish char- 
acter of most of his Palestinian subjects, the Syrian king, Antiochus 
IV Epiphanes, undertook to force Greek culture upon them. He 
forbade Jewish rites and customs, set up an altar to Zeus in the 
temple, and ordered swine to be slain thereon. Violence was in- 
evitable. In 167 B.C. the Jews revolted, led by Mattathias, the high 
priest, and his sons, in particular the courageous Judas Maccabeus. 
On December 25, 165, the temple was recovered and the services 
there reinstituted with great rejoicing. The festival of Hanulckah 
is celebrated in commemoration of this event. After Judas was 
killed in combat, his brothers carried on the struggle and within a 



12 THIS Is ISRAEL 

decade cleared the land of the Syrians and set up an independent 
Jewish state. 

Jewish home rule, often turbulent and corrupt, continued for 
ninety years until 63 B.C., when the Roman general Pompey 
marched into Jerusalem to slaughter the priests and annex the area 
to the Roman Empire. 

10. The Romans in Palestine 

Under Roman control various quisling kings ruled Palestine. 
Best known and perhaps most capable of these was the infamous 
Herod the Great, His death in 4 B.C. resulted in the division of 
the kingdom among three sons. Of these, Herod Antipas received 
the rule of Galilee and Perea. It was he who executed the Jewish 
prophet, John the Baptist, and opposed the ministry of Jesus of 
Nazareth. After 6 A.D., Roman procurators, one of whom was Pon- 
tius Pilate, governed Judea, and after 44 AJX, Roman officials, 
usually of a dishonest type, ruled all of Palestine. 

During this period there was sharp competition between the two 
major religious parties of Palestinian Judaism, the Sadducees and 
the Pharisees. The Sadducees represented the ruling classes. They 
included the priests of the temple in Jerusalem, and sought to pre- 
serve the status quo. They encouraged cooperation with the Ro- 
mans and held to a strict, Kteral interpretation of the Torah. 

The Pharisees, on the other hand, were devout laymen who 
endeavored to purify Judaism. While they, too, were exacting le- 
galists in regard to food and Sabbath laws, they allowed enough 
leeway in their interpretation of the Torah to accept belief in 
angels, the resurrection of the dead, life after death, the coming of 
the Kingdom of God, and various Messianic theories. Their posi- 
tion in regard to the Romans could have been described as "neu- 
tralist." Generally speaking, Pharisaic views were far more seasi- 
tive to spiritual and ethical values than those of the Sadducees, and 
rather more reasonable than the extreme cases cited in the New 
Testament record. 

A third group requires mention because of the disaster it brought 
upon the Jews. These were the Zealots, a revolutionary political 
party which intended to drive the Romans from the land by force. 
Zealot strength was encouraged by Roman oppression. In 66 A.D. 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 13 

the party precipitated war with Rome by killing the Roman sol- 
diers stationed in Jerusalem and Caesarea. The Roman general 
Vespasian and his son, Titus, proceeded to Palestine from the 
north with a strong military force and set siege to the Holy City 
in the spring of 69. Their task was made less difficult by dissension 
between priests and Zealots. In the late autumn of 70, after a fright- 
ful massacre, Jerusalem fell to Titus, his father having returned to 
Rome to seek the imperial crown. 

11. Jesus of Nazareth 

Into this tension-filled cosmopolitan world of the first century 
was born Jesus of Nazareth. Eldest of seven children, he grew up 
in the humble surroundings of a Galilean carpenter shop. As a 
young man he was baptized in the Jordan River by the revered 
ascetic prophet, John the Baptist. When John was arrested by 
Herod Antipas, Jesus came into Galilee preaching with urgency 
that the Kingdom of God was at hand and that men must repent. 
Choosing a small group of fishermen and a tax collector to assist 
him, he began an itinerant preaching mission throughout the towns 
and villages around the Sea of Galilee, maintaining his head- 
quarters at Capernaum. 

Jesus was more than a preacher. He was also a singularly effec- 
tive teacher with a simple, yet rich and penetrating ethical message 
in the tradition of the great prophets of Israel. He spoke clearly 
and with authority of the love and mercy of God and of the in- 
trinsic personal worth of the humblest individual. His ministry 
was accompanied by remarkable instances of healing of both phys- 
ical and psychic ills. 

Nothing that Jesus taught was contrary to the best in Judaism. 
His interest, however, in the spirit rather than the letter of the law, 
and in motives as well as in deeds, led him on occasion to heated 
discussions with the Pharisees. 

After beheading John, Herod Antipas turned his attention to 
Jesus and his followers. Since it became increasingly difficult to 
work in Galilee, Jesus moved courageously to Jerusalem. There 
he taught daily in the temple court and achieved wide popularity. 
The length of this Jerusalem ministry cannot have exceeded a few 
months. 



14 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Just before the Passover festival in the spring of the year 28 or 
29 A.D., Jesus incurred the wrath of the Sadducees by condemning 
the traffic in sacrificial birds and the money exchange carried on in 
the temple area. He drove the money-changers and sellers of cattle 
out of the courtyard of the sanctuary. This, the only display of 
the use of force by Jesus, was a brave act, but it hastened his death. 
He had struck a mortal blow at the lucrative traffic of the priests 
and had reminded the temple throngs: "It hath been written, 
'My house shall be called a House of Prayer for all peoples' but ye 
have made it a den of thieves." 

The Sadducees now became as hostile toward him as the Phari- 
sees. The latter, also humiliated, felt that the disturbance he caused 
would draw Roman attention to the Jewish community and result 
in further restrictions. 

Jesus had made many enemies among the Pharisees, but they 
dared not touch him during the day when he was surrounded by 
friendly crowds. They needed someone to point him out on the 
way to his nightly resting place. For this they bribed Judas, one of 
the twelve disciples. For thirty pieces of silver he agreed to betray 
his master. Actually, not greed but bitter disappointment in the 
apparent failure of Jesus' Messiahship motivated the zealous Judas. 

Jesus met with his disciples to celebrate the Passover. The room 
in which this historic event is believed to have taken place, the 
Cenaculum, may still be seen on Mount Zion. All of the orthodox 
Christian churches consider the Last Supper to have been the ulti- 
mate in sacred events. Known as the Eucharist, it is solemnly cele- 
brated as one of the sacraments. 

After the Last Supper, Jesus went to an orchard on the Mount 
of Olives to pray. As he emerged from the trees, he was greeted 
by Judas with a kiss, the pre-arranged signal for seizing Jesus* 

At the trial before the Sanhedrin at the house of Caiaphas, the 
High Priest, Jesus maintained silence until asked whether he was 
the Messiah. When he said he was, the High Priest exclaimed that 
such a blasphemous claim made htm deserving of death. 

Since the Jews, however, had no power to execute anyone, they 
turned Jesus over to the civil authorities, Pilate, the Roman consul, 
found Jesus innocent As a pagan, he had no understanding of the 
religious issues involved. Selecting one of the three charges that 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 15 

of Jesus' claim to be the King of the Jews he questioned him 
about it. Again he was not fully convinced; Jesus' personality was 
unlike that of the leader of any armed revolt. As an astute politician, 
however, he realized that it would be unwise to oppose the Jewish 
leaders and perhaps provoke a riot that would reflect on his adminis- 
tration. Hence he yielded to the crowd clamoring for the liberation 
of Barabbas, the violent insurrectionist, and for the execution of 
Jesus, the meek non-resistant. Promptly releasing Barabbas, Pilate 
decreed that Jesus should be crucified. The day of the crucifixion 
is commemorated throughout Christendom as Good Friday. The 
Sunday that followed, when, according to the scriptural account, 
Jesus rose from the dead, is Easter. 

A question not to be evaded at this point is: "Who was guilty 
of the death of Jesus?" This is an extremely serious and far-reach- 
ing issue, for the false accusation that the Jews were to blame had 
led to the heartless, unjustified epithet of "Christ-killers" and to 
two thousand years of bitter, cruel persecution. 

The gospel writers were anxious to placate the Romans and did 
not hesitate to put the Jews in an unfavorable light. Even so, their 
record clearly indicates that, to the Jewish religious leaders, the 
Messianic claim of Jesus was blasphemous. They felt constrained 
to treat him as a heretic. Furthermore, they felt that his teaching 
endangered the security of the Jewish people and aroused the 
suspicion of the Romans. The Jewish leaders tried and condemned 
Jesus for his unorthodox and in their estimation dangerous reli- 
gious views. The Romans put him to death because they considered 
him a revolutionary and a possible menace to the state, 

If the blame is to be placed on anyone, it must rest on the High 
Priest Caiaphas, a pro-Roman Sadducee, and on Pontius Pilate, who 
ordered the execution. To a lesser degree, the hostile mob may be 
implicated. But certainly it is unintelligent and unjust to hold the 
entire Jewish people responsible for the death of Jesus and to make 
that bloodguilt hereditary for nineteen centuries. 

Actually, Jesus and his followers helped establish some of the 
basic ideals of Judaism in all quarters of the globe. Through the 
activities of the Christian Church the Hebrew Bible has be- 
come the most widespread, the most sacred book in print. Israel, 
as a people and as a faith, should be proud that it contributed the 



16 THIS Is ISRAEL 

noblest human being who ever lived and who is considered divine 
by millions. His teachings have revolutionized Western thinking 
and have reformed human conduct. A great Jewish scholar, Pro- 
fessor Joseph Klausner, who made an exhaustive study of the life 
of Jesus, says: "In his ethical code there is a sublimity, distinctive- 
ness, and originality in form unparalleled in any other Hebrew 
ethical code . . . From the standpoint of general humanity, he is, 
indeed, 'a light to the Gentiles.' " 

12. The Rise of Christianity 

Christianity was born when Simon Peter and other disciples of 
Jesus came to the remarkable conviction that their crucified leader 
was no longer dead, but was alive and had appeared to them. He 
rose to heaven, they believed, and sat at the right hand of God, 
from where he would soon return in power and glory. 

Inspired by this belief, they formed a synagogue in Jerusalem 
and established a new Messianic sect. This original group main- 
tained its thoroughly Jewish nature. The Torah was to be kept as 
the first requirement for "justification," i,e,, the right relationship 
to God sought by every Jew. To share, however, in the coming 
kingdom, it was necessary to believe that Jesus had been and was 
the Messiah. When Simon Peter left Jerusalem in 44 A.D., leadership 
was assumed by James, the brother of Jesus. After James was stoned 
to death in 62, the remaining "Judeo-Christians" fled across the 
Jordan River to Pella. They took no part in the war with Rome 
and ultimately disappeared. 

The missionary zeal, however, of these earliest "Christians* 7 pro- 
vided opportunity for the conversion of non-Palestinian Jews such 
as Paul of Tarsus, The Apostle Paul was (as he claimed) "a He- 
brew of Hebrews*' and a Pharisee. He had, however, been educated 
in the Greek world of Asia Minor as well as Jerusalem, had traveled 
widely, and so became the "apostle to the Gentiles." The gospel he 
preached declared that the Torah had been abrogated by the death 
of Jesus and was no longer of value. Justification was to be obtained 
by faith in Jesus as Messiah and Lord (a term familiar to Gentile 
Salvation cults). This denial of the Law forced Christianity out of 
Judaism so that it might become an independent, universal reli- 
gious movement. With Paul, Barnabas, Apollos, and a host of 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 17 

other traveling evangelists whose names are now lost to us, the new 
faith swept across and "conquered" the Roman Empire in less than 
three centuries. 

13. Judea Capta and Bar-Koch ba 

The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus was an overwhelming 
catastrophe for the Jews. One report indicates that more than a 
million persons died in combat or starved to death during the siege. 
Many survivors were sent to Rome as captives. The temple was 
reduced to ashes and the city left in ruins. Even before the fighting 
ended, the rabbinic school had fled to Jabneh, there to attempt a 
salvage of the traditions of Judaism. 

Outside of Palestine, "Zealot" hope still stirred. Jews rose up in 
Egypt, Gyrene, and on the island of Cyprus during the reigns of 
Domitian and Trajan. In violent reaction to special taxation and in 
general animosity toward Greek and Roman rulers, they carried 
out sudden and savage slaughter. The Greeks in Alexandria re- 
sponded by murdering "the whole race," and elsewhere, in bitter 
fighting, the Jews were suppressed ruthlessly. 

It was the Roman emperor Hadrian, however, who provoked 
the most serious rebellion by his proscription against Judaism, 
which banned the reading of the Torah, circumcision, and Sabbath 
observance. As a direct consequence, there emerged in Palestine 
the bold warrior Simon Bar-Kochba with an organized army of 
more than 200,000 men. Declared to be Messiah by the important 
religious leader, Rabbi Akiba, Bar-Kochba scored brief but telling 
victories over the Romans. After a highly destructive war, which 
ended in 135, he went down to complete military immolation and 
death before the Roman general Severus. 

Hadrian then introduced even sterner measures for Jerusalem. 
He undertook the building of a shrine to Jupiter on the site of 
Solomon's temple and constructed baths and circuses. He issued a 
royal decree that no Jew was ever again to set foot in the traditional 
capital, or "to contemplate even at a distance its sacred height" on 
pain of death. Rabbi Akiba was scourged and executed. The city 
was renamed "Aelia Capitolina," after the emperor's first name, 
and the new dedication to "Jupiter of the Capitol." 

The Jews of antiquity had made their last brave effort and had 



18 THIS Is ISRAEL 

failed. As Bar-Kochba passed from the scene, Jewish nationalist 
aspirations entered a period of eclipse which was to continue for 
more than eighteen centuries. 

14. The Patriarchate 

In destroying Bar-Kochba, the Roman legions had almost wiped 
out the population of Judea. The school at Jabneh was ultimately 
ordered closed. The intellectual and spiritual center of Jewish life 
then moved north to Usha and Tiberias in Galilee, where it re- 
mained for almost three hundred years. 

The Romans recognized the president of the rabbinical assembly 
as Patriarch (also termed "Prince"), that is, as the political and 
religious leader of the Jewish community. 

During the period of the Patriarchate local synagogues retained 
their independence. Lay readers were often wealthy landowners 
who had but a limited interest in the scholarly activities carried on 
by the rabbis. Nevertheless, it was the rabbinical schools, through 
their studies, which provided the permanent foundations of later 
Judaism. Rabbi Judah, "the Prince" (135-220), directed a collec- 
tion of interpretations of the Torah in the best Pharisaic tradition. 
The Mishnah, as these were known, became the basis of Jewish 
orthodoxy. 

The complete separation of Jew and Christian was not brought 
about at once. It was a process which extended over a century. 
The effect was twofold: 1) it resulted in a strengthening and puri- 
fication of Judaism; and 2) it proved disastrous to the development 
of native Christianity in Palestine, The Nazarcncs were in a most 
unfortunate position* As Christians, they were excluded from the 
synagogue; as former Jews, they were looked upon by the Church 
with suspicion and accepted only reluctantly. A final blow was 
their exclusion by the Romans from Aelia Capitolina, the new 
Jerusalem, where a wholly Gentile church was organised. The 
Judeo-Christians fled across the Jordan to find themselves de- 
nounced as heretics. In the course of a few hundred years they 
vanished completely. Curiously enough, an almost similar fate over- 
took a group of Jews, the Samaritans, who considered themselves 
the true believers. 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 19 

15. The Samaritans 

Long before the appearance of the Christians, the orthodox Jews 
had been extremely hostile to another group, the Samaritans, who 
shared some of their religious views. The Samaritans lived in that 
section of Palestine stretching from the mountains of Ephraim 
down to the Mediterranean Sea. This animosity went back to 536 
B.C., when the exiles returning from Babylon under Zerubbabel 
found that the natives who had remained in the land had inter- 
married with foreigners settled there by the conquerors. 

These Samaritans, who had accepted the books of Moses and 
considered themselves faithful Jews, were eager to join in rebuild- 
ing the Temple and had said: "Let us build with you, for we seek 
your God as you do." 

Zerubbabel rudely rejected their offer by declaring, *Te have 
nothing to do with us to build a home for our God." 

The Samaritans appealed to the Persian king, Cyrus, and suc- 
ceeded in holding up the restoration of the Temple for eight years. 
ZerubbabeFs anger only increased. He declared all marriages with 
Samaritans invalid and forced the sect out of the congregation of 
Israel. In reprisal the Samaritans attacked the Israelites as they 
erected the walls of Jerusalem. 

Actually the Samaritans considered themselves "the real Jews," 
inasmuch as they had never left the soil of Palestine. Stubbornly 
they rejected the returned exiles and their sanctuary. Instead they 
built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim near their capital, Samaria; 
and when this was destroyed, the Romans helped them to rebuild it. 

In the course of history the Samaritans were almost wiped out. 
Their center is still Schechem (Nablus) in the shadow of Mount 
Gerizim. This town is almost entirely Arabic today, for there are 
probably no more than 200 Samaritans left. Ironically, too, these 
"real Jews" are not within the state of Israel, for Nablus lies in the 
Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan. 

The intense sufferings the Jews had endured tightened the bonds 
of kinship and intensified their consciousness of being the "Chosen 
People." Judea had been destroyed, but not the Jews nor Judaism. 
The material loss resulted in great spiritual gains. 



20 THIS Is ISRAEL 

16. Galutb 

Long before the fall of Jerusalem, many Jews had already left 
Judea to found settlements in Babylonia, Syria, Egypt and Italy. 
Indeed, four times as many Jews lived outside the borders of Pales- 
tine as within them. The destruction of their national and religious 
center caused them to look upon themselves as living in exile, 
Galuth, as they termed it. Their attachment to Zion became almost 
a religious obsession. Every day the pious Jew turned eastward as 
he still does and prayed for Jerusalem's restoration: "Rebuild it 
soon in our time, O Lord!" Most of the ritual became a perpetual 
mourning for the devastated Temple. 

Intermittent Jewish persecutions continued in some large cities 
of the Empire. This situation improved under the Constitution of 
Caracalla (211), when Jews were admitted to Roman citizenship, 
but worsened sharply a century later when Christianity became 
the official religion. Although theoretically included in the reli- 
gious toleration guaranteed by the Edict of Milan, Jews were re- 
garded with hatred and suspicion by emperors who professed the 
Christian faith. 

Because of hostile measures inaugurated by the Christian church, 
more and more Jewish scholars felt constrained to leave Palestine. 
They found greater freedom under the Persian rulers of Mesopo- 
tamia, and by the fourth century Babylon had assumed leadership 
in many aspects of Jewish religious life. In 425, Theodosius II 
abolished the Patriarchate. The heart of Judaism, however, had 
already moved to the East where the Babylonian Talmud, the most 
inclusive commentary on Jewish life and law, was being completed. 

17. Last Days of Romm Rule 

The last centuries of Roman rule were full of suffering for the 
Jews. Ecclesiastical edicts made life increasingly hard; public of- 
fices and professions were closed to the Jews. Synagogues were 
pillaged and defiled. In some instances they were destroyed or 
taken over as Christian churches. This was an especially serious 
matter in that the Jews were forbidden to build new synagogues. 

Perhaps the greatest number of inequities, however, sprang from 
the Code of Justinian (531) which had the effect of denying Jews, 



ANCIENT ISRAEL 21 

as "non-believers," both property and personal rights. The end of 
the sixth century found Christians forcing Jews to be baptized. 
Finally Pope Gregory I, in contrast to other rulers of the period, 
came to their defense by insisting that "they were to be won by 
tenderness, by gentleness, not by threats, terrors and unjust usage." 

In 614 many Jews joined with the Persians in the conquest of 
Palestine, and a wholesale massacre of Christians took place. 
Scores of Christian churches, including the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre, were set on fire. When the Roman emperor Heraclius 
recaptured the land in 629, the Christian clergy in Jerusalem cele- 
brated the event by a similar massacre of the Jews, part of their 
jubilation stemming from the belief that they had recovered "the 
true cross." 

In the East, meanwhile, a new and mighty conqueror had ap- 
peared. Omar, the second Mohammedan Caliph, had united the 
Arabs under his banner and was advancing into Syria and Palestine. 
With the "irresistible sword of the Prophet," the forces of Omar 
defeated Heraclius at the Yarmuk River on the Judean coast in 636. 

Thus Roman rule came to an end in Palestine. The sign of the 
Cross had been replaced by the Crescent. The ancient homeland of 
the Jews was now a part of the vast domain of Islam. 



II 

Palestine under the Moslems 



1. Mohammed and Islam 

WHILE Heraclius was leading his troops in the desert south of 
Damascus, in an attempt to restore order in ravaged Syria, a strange 
message in Arabic was brought to him. It came from Mohammed, 
the obscure camel driver in Medina, and called upon the Roman 
emperor to worship the One True God, Allah, of whom Moham- 
med was the prophet. 

The same message came to Kavadh, ruler of the Persians. Tear- 
ing up the letter, he angrily threw the fragments at the envoy and 
told him to leave. This act of defiance was reported to Mohammed, 
who became enraged and cried: "Take his kingdom from him, O 
Lord!" 

None of Mohammed's humble companions could have realized 
then that their Master's teaching would one day be accepted by 
millions, and that kingdoms stretching from the Atlantic to the 
Indian Ocean would venerate him as the prophet of God. His 
career concerns us because his followers ruled over Palestine for 
more than a thousand years. 

It was in 570 A.D. that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was 
born in extreme poverty in Mecca. In his youth he was a shepherd, 
unable to read and write. Later he traveled as a trader with caravans 
to Yemen and to Syria. He does not seem to have distinguished 
himself in this capacity. On the other hand, both sensitive and ob- 
servant, he could not help but note the beautiful Christian churches, 
listen to the teaching of the monks in Syria, and, in Yemen, be- 



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PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 23 

come deeply impressed by the belief in One God held so tena- 
ciously by the Jews of that ancient kingdom. 

Nor could he, being of a philosophical turn of mind, fail to com- 
pare the noble religious sentiments of both Jews and Christians 
with the crude superstitions and idol-worship of his own people. 
In Mecca itself there was always a vivid evidence: The Kaaba, a 
temple of black stones with a meteorite as the cornerstone that his 
fellow citizens worshipped as the deity who reigned over all the 
tribal gods of Arabia. The pilgrimages to Mecca and the cere- 
monies at the Kaaba which attracted huge crowds and produced 
sizable revenues were a part of his youthful experience. 

When Mohammed was twenty-five, he married Kadija, a pros- 
perous widow (in whose home he had been employed). For the 
next fifteen years he seems to have led an easy, carefree existence, 
with, however, periods of meditation and self-examination. Oc- 
casionally, he withdrew to the wilderness to think on God, life, 
death, and the hereafter. He claimed that the angel Gabriel ap- 
peared to him and revealed to him truths which he committed to 
memory. Finally, at the age of forty, he expressed his religious 
convictions to his wife and a few friends. 

He stressed belief in one God, Allah, and claimed that he, Mo- 
hammed, was his prophet. Yet he also acknowledged the Hebrew 
patriarchs and seers, including Jesus, accepting them as divine 
teachers. Undoubtedly, Judaism and Christianity influenced him; 
for example, after the manner of Jesus, he chose twelve apostles. 

His revelations were taken down by his followers on pieces of 
pottery and bone. After Mohammed's death these fragments were 
collected and copied into a book called the Koran. This became 
the sacred scripture of the Mohammedans. Comprising 114 chap- 
ters or suras, only one version in Arabic was compiled; and 
thus the Mohammedans have never been troubled by textual dis- 
crepancies as have Christians with the Bible. 

For a time the new faith was held only by Mohammed's wife; 
Ali, an adopted son; Zaid, a slave; and Abu Bekr, a friend. Few 
paid attention to Mohammed until he began not only to preach a 
life in the hereafter, but to threaten idolaters with hell fire. By 
such preachments, Mohammed menaced the lucrative traffic of 
Mecca; and, as a consequence, his followers were persecuted. The 



24 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Prophet himself was not molested, however. Not only his wealth 
and position protected him, but it was unthinkable that the Holy 
City would be involved in blood and violence. 

After ten years of unsuccessful ministry, during which his de- 
voted wife died, Mohammed left Mecca. In Tayf, a neighboring 
community, he was met with stones and abuse. Then, unexpectedly, 
an invitation came to go to Medina. Mohammed sent disciples be- 
fore him to preach and prepare his way. Soon only he and his friend, 
Abu Bekr, were left in Mecca. Realizing the danger if Mohammed 
were to make Medina his stronghold, the elders of Mecca plotted 
to assassinate him; but when on the night set, the murderers en- 
tered Mohammed's bedroom, they found only his adopted son, 
Ali, asleep. Mohammed and Abu Bekr had fled secretly. By a 
circuitous route they made their way to Medina. There they were 
warmly welcomed. 

This flight from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hegira, took 
place September 20, 622. It is a milestone in Islamic history, mark- 
ing as it does the beginning of the Prophet's power and of the 
Mohammedan era. 

In Medina, Mohammed erected the first mosque. He helped 
build it with his own hands. For several years raids upon caravans 
and intermittent skirmishes took place between the rival cities. In 
the final encounter, Mohammed, entrenching himself in Medina, 
successfully defied his enemies. After the siege, the Prophet di- 
verted his followers by leading in the massacre of 900 Jews in a 
nearby castle. He had begun his career as a man of peace and 
gentleness. Averse to violence, he had found that the sword ena- 
bled him to make swifter progress. 

In accordance with a truce, the Prophet's rule was extended to 
Mecca. The faithful were to face in the direction of this Holy City 
when they prayed, and it was to be the goal of pilgrimages. In 
629, Mohammed entered Mecca at the head of 10,000 followers 
and smashed 300 idols in the Kaaba. By war, treaty, and intrigues, 
he became master of all Arabia; and when he next made a pilgrim- 
age to Mecca, 100,000 adherents accompanied him. 

During the eleven years from the Hegira to his death, Moham- 
med welded the scattered Arab tribes into one people. Although 
he claimed to be the Prophet of Allah, he did not hesitate to employ 



PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 25 

potentate, he acquired wives and concubines according to his 
fancy, even marrying the wife of his adopted son, Ali. He showed 
no prejudice in his choice of women, for his harem contained, 
among others, a Jewess and an Egyptian. 

Despite his rather dissolute and irregular life, Mohammed 
evolved a religion which taught many desirable virtues. Islam 
insists on such tenets as kindliness in daily life; the gift of one- 
tenth of one's income to the poor; prayer five times daily; absten- 
tion from alcohol. The pious Moslem must make at least one 
pilgrimage to Mecca. He must keep the month of Ramadan as a 
fast. Indeed, Mohammedanism is a simple, universal, monotheistic 
religion, and as such, in singular contrast to the interminable the- 
ological disputes of the Christians and the seeming exclusiveness 
of the Jews. It allowed no images, no saints, no sacrifices, no hier- 
archy of priests. Its creed was summed up in the words: "There is 
no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." 

Islam, full of the spirit of generosity and brotherhood, made no 
racial distinctions and appealed to man's basic spiritual needs. In- 
evitably, it spread rapidly in the face of a corrupt Byzantine Chris- 
tianity and a weakened Judaism. 

Throughout his life-time, Abu Bekr remained the Prophet's 
steadfast friend. He believed completely in Mohammed and sus- 
tained him with a clear conscience and energetic will. When the 
Prophet died of a fever in 632, Abu Bekr succeeded him as Caliph 
(Kalifa, meaning "successor"). His deep faith in the righteousness 
of Allah carried him forward on a wave of triumph. He pre- 
vented a split between Mecca and Medina; suppressed an insur- 
rection of the Bedouins; carried Islam beyond the borders of Ara- 
bia. 

2. The Arab Invasion of Palestine 

Caliph Abu Bekr, eager to spread Islam, had determined to cap- 
ture the fertile province of Syria from the Christians. In the very 
first engagement, he defeated Heraclius, the Roman emperor. 

Upon Abu Bekr's death in 634, he was succeeded by Omar, the 
second Caliph, whose troops captured Damascus, Caesarea, Sa- 
maria, Nablus, Lydd, and Jaffa. Meanwhile, Heraclius collected a 
huge army and marched against the Arabs. They retreated and 
met the Romans on the banks of the Yarmuk, a tributary of the 



26 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Jordan. Betrayed by a disgruntled Christian, the army of Herac- 
Hus was utterly routed; and thus, in 636, ended the rule of the 
Byzantine Empire in Syria and Palestine. 

Marching south, Omar's army besieged Jerusalem. The city 
offered only feeble resistance. When Omar entered the walls he 
asked to be shown the site of Solomon's Temple. Much to the 
embarrassment of Sophronius, the Patriarch, he could show the 
interested Arab nothing but a dunghill Since the Moslems be- 
lieved the black rock hidden beneath to be the spot from which 
Mohammed flew to heaven on a fiery steed, Omar considered the 
condition of the site a blasphemy. He immediately ordered the 
area cleaned up and a mosque erected. 

In 684, Omar's successor, Abd al-Malik, built the present beauti- 
ful shrine which is known as the Mosque of Omar, or the Dome 
of the Rock, The smaller Aksa Mosque was probably also his work. 
The Temple area, containing these two beautiful shrines, became 
the goal of pious Moslem pilgrims, since Jerusalem ranked second 
only after Mecca and Medina as a Holy Place. Abd al-Malik's 
second son, Sulayman (715-17), not only made Palestine his per- 
manent residence, but built a beautiful palace and an elaborate 
mosque at Ramleh not far from Jerusalem. 

Quite soon there arose dissensions among rival aspirants for the 
Caliphate. The two chief divisions were the orthodox Sunnite and 
the dissenting Shiite sects. 

The new empire was loosely organized, for its capital was in 
distant Medina. Moawiya, first Caliph of the orthodox Omayyad 
dynasty, transferred the capital from Mecca to Damascus; under 
one of the Omayyads, the Caliph Walid, the Arab empire extended 
from Spain to India. 

In 750, Abbas al-Saffah overthrew the Omayyads and founded 
the dynasty of the Abbasids, His successor, Al-Mansur, transferred 
the capital to Baghdad. On the whole, the Abbasids were en- 
lightened and Baghdad became a flourishing cultural center. Chris- 
tian and Jewish scholars were at its court. However, essentially an 
Oriental and not a Western civilization now began to develop. It 
spread its influence into Palestine which prospered in the begin- 
ning under the rule of the Abbasids, for the soil was fertile and 
both trade and industry bloomed. 



PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 27 

Contrary to general belief , the Arab conquest was not prompted 
by a desire to make religious converts but rather by an economic 
motive. Money was desired. Actually, the conquerors were not 
very eager to gain converts, for Moslems did not pay taxes. They 
were inclined, therefore, to treat their new subjects with gener- 
osity so that tribute might be collected with greater ease. 

The first Caliph, Abu Bekr, had instructed his troops to keep 
their word even to their enemies, not to slaughter civilians or cat- 
tle, nor to destroy crops and fruit trees. His successor, Omar, 
equally just and tolerant, distinguished himself by the simplicity 
of his life and his respect for other religions. 

Swiftly and with comparative ease, the Arabs had made their 
gains in the Middle East, due in part to their organization and en- 
thusiasm, but due also to the debilitated Byzantine and Persian 
empires. In addition, orthodox Christianity's intolerance had cre- 
ated dissatisfaction among wide segments of the population. The 
persecuted Jews had for decades looked to Persia for relief; they 
now welcomed the Moslems for the same reason. 

The Caliphs ruled a mixed population of Jews, Samaritans, Chris- 
tians and Moslems. On the whole, they treated their subjects justly, 
and refrained from the intolerance and oppression which had 
marked the Byzantine era. Omar established basic principles for 
the Arab attitude. Cities that surrendered peacefully were 
accorded certain rights. After they had paid their taxes, the 
non-Moslems, known as dhimmis, were free to continue their ac- 
customed activities. They kept their property and their churches. 
Religious rites were permitted as long as they were unobtrusive. 
Both Jews and Christians, organized as autonomous religious 
communities, formed cultural isles within the Arab society. 

At the beginning, there were few converts to Islam; but soon 
political and social conditions made it profitable to join the Mo- 
hammedans. Records were now being kept in Arabic; Moslems ex- 
pected they would fill official positions held by Christians and 
Jews. Although Christians in Palestine constituted the majority of 
the population to the ninth century, their authority and standing 
waned; and like the Jews, they were now treated as second-class 
citizens. 

To the credit of the Arab invaders, it must be recorded that they 



28 THIS Is ISRAEL 

did not interfere with the many Christian pilgrims, except briefly 
on two occasions in the 1 1th century. Nor did they interfere with 
the orthodox Christians who still looked to Byzantium for guid- 
ance. Churches and monasteries were secure, at least in Western 
Palestine. Christians could continue even theological controversies 
unmolested, for the Arabs were indifferent to their religious beliefs. 

3. Jewish Scholarly Activities 

The Jews fared even better in the eighth century than the Chris- 
tians from whose intolerance they had suffered for three centuries. 
Despite unrest and occasional harassments they remained in vari- 
ous parts of Palestine and established their capital at Tiberias. After 
the Moslem conquest, many returned even to Jerusalem. They 
bought the slopes of the Mount of Olives, where the chief religious 
festivals were held. In Lydda, Ramleh, Ascalon, Caesarea and Gaza, 
important Jewish communities flourished. 

Jewish religious leaders continued their scholarly activities. The 
Jerusalem Talmud was completed and the commentaries known as 
the Midrash were edited. The text of the Bible itself was studied. 
The Hebrew language, fallen into disuse, was now revived. To 
insure textual reliability, scholars introduced a more efficient sys- 
tem of pointing and punctuation known as the Masorah and used 
at Tiberias by the Masoretes whose text of the Bible remains au- 
thoritative even today. 

Under the pressure of Islam, both the Christian and the Jew- 
ish populations declined numerically. While the Christians of 
Palestine made little or no contribution to scholarship and the- 
ology, the Jews showed remarkable activity. 

The completion of the Talmud resulted in the imposing of an 
elaborate and rigid religious life on the believer an imposition not 
all Jews were ready to accept. In the second half of the eighth 
century, several revolts occurred. A rabbi of Babylon, Anan ben 
David, emphasized the laws of the Bible as opposed to the Talmud 
and founded the Karites, a group still in existence. Not very suc- 
cessful in Babylon, they removed to Jerusalem. There they 
founded an ascetic brotherhood, the Mourners of Zion, who passed 
their lives in poverty and prayer for the restoration of the Temple. 

As before the Moslem Conquest, so after it, the Jews formed a 



PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 29 

religious and political community. Under the Romans, its head had 
been the patriarch residing in Tiberias; under the Arabs, he was 
the gaon (president) of the rabbinical academy in that city. It was 
there that the calendar was fixed for Jews throughout the world. 

The decline of the Caliphate of the Abbasids seemed to react un- 
favorably on Jewish life, which presently began to show signs of 
decay. Leadership in Jewish scholarship passed to other lands, 
notably to Egypt and Spain, where Jewish philosophy and poetry 
flourished. Indeed, considerable rivalry arose between the pro- 
tagonists of the Babylonian Talmud and that of Jerusalem. For a 
time, the latter was supreme; and the head of the Jerusalem Yeshiva 
assumed the title of Gaon of Jacob, deciding in matters of ritual 
and calendar schedules. But the supremacy of Jerusalem did not last 
long, for the Jewish community became so poor that finally it had 
to depend on subsidies from Cairo. 

The decline of Palestine Jewry was gradual. For two centuries 
following the Arab conquest, Palestine remained a prosperous 
country with blooming vineyards and busy towns. This prosperity 
was slowly but steadily undermined by the inefficient administra- 
tion of the Caliphs, burdensome taxation, and a lack of protection 
from marauding adventurers. More and more Arabs occupied the 
land; at length, the majority of the population was Moslem and 
spoke Arabic. This Islamization did not increase the strength and 
well-being of the country. Baghdad's ineffectual rule brought 
poverty and decay to Moslem, as well as to Jewish and Christian 
communities. Palestine seemed but a remote province. It was not 
well protected; and, in the ninth century, insurrections broke out. 
The Bedouins made frequent raids. Towns were sacked; villages 
were burned; monasteries and churches were destroyed. 

4. The Turkish Conquest 

More and more the Caliphs in Baghdad began to rely on Turkish 
mercenaries to maintain order. This tactic weakened their power 
so that they became little more than figureheads. Ambitious local 
governors made themselves hereditary princes and completely dis- 
regarded Baghdad. 

One of the most energetic of the Turkish adventurers was Ahmad 
ibn-Tulun. Beginning his career as a lieutenant-governor of Egypt, 



30 THIS Is ISRAEL 

he soon made himself an independent ruler. In 877, he conquered 
Palestine and Syria, founding a powerful military state with a naval 
base at Acre. Through him the destinies of Palestine were linked to 
Egypt. In 905 Egypt and Syria reverted for thirty years to the Ab- 
basids, who were unable, however, to maintain order. Christian 
churches and monasteries, among them the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre, were severely damaged by riots and civil warfare. 

In the meantime, another Turkish adventurer, Mohammed ibn- 
Tughj, sent to restore order in Egypt, seized control not only of 
Egypt but also of Palestine and Syria. He assumed the title of 
Prince. His kingdom, however, did not survive him. Through mis- 
rule it was so weakened that even the Byzantines were enabled once 
more to penetrate into Palestine, a development that led to re- 
prisals against the Christian population and Christian churches. In- 
teresting to relate, for 20 years, the country was actually ruled by 
an Abyssinian Negro slave. 

Meanwhile, there now appeared a new and more powerful con- 
queror, Jawhar, leader of the Fatimid princes. The Fatimids 
claimed descent from Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed, and had 
established themselves as Caliphs in northwestern Africa in 909. 
Later they extended their rule to Palestine and Syria under Al-Aziz, 
a tolerant and enlightened ruler. 

On his death, civil war broke out. Jawhar's successor, al-Hakim, 
mounted the throne in 996, but soon became deranged, claiming he 
was an incarnation of God, Some of his subjects accepted his state- 
ment and formed the esoteric sect of the Druses which survives in 
both Israel and Syria to this day. 

In 1009, al-Hakim, forbidding pilgrimages to Jerusalem, ordered 
all churches and synagogues destroyed. The destruction of the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christendom's most sacred 
shrines, shocked the Western world and by thus drawing attention 
to the Turkish persecution of Christians, inspired the first cru- 
sade. Passions were aroused; and, when the false rumor was circu- 
lated that Jews had been responsible, widespread massacres of that 
unhappy people resulted. After the death of al-Hakim, a brief pe- 
riod of comparative peace followed. 

By the eleventh century Islam had long ceased to be a unified em- 
pire, having broken up into a number of rival kingdoms- In Bagh- 



PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 31 

dad the orthodox Sunnite Caliph was virtually a prisoner of the 
Turkish palace guard. Shiite heretics ruled in Palestine, Syria, and 
Egypt. 

Suddenly, from the borders of China came the Seljuk Turks. 
Orthodox Moslems, they conquered the heretical rulers and set 
themselves up as protectors of the Baghdad Caliph. In 1055, their 
leader was proclaimed Sultan. 

They wrested Armenia from the Greeks. They swept through 
Asia Minor. Led by Sultan Alp Arslin, they routed the Byzantine 
army under Emperor Romanus Diogenes at the battle of Manzi- 
kert in 1071. Shortly thereafter, they were in Nicaea, facing Con- 
stantinople. The very existence of the Byzantine Empire was threat- 
ened. In desperation, Emperor Michael VII asked Pope Gregory 
for assistance. A more urgent appeal was made by his successor, 
Alexius Commenus, to Pope Urban IL 

These appeals were of considerable significance, for, in 1054, the 
Greek (Byzantine) Church had split from the Latin (Roman) 
Church. It was practically an admission of the weakness of the 
Eastern Empire and of reliance on the power of Rome. Here was 
an excellent opportunity to extend the influence of the Pope over 
Syria, Palestine and Egypt, and, in addition, to rescue the Holy 
Sepulchre from the hands of the Moslems. 

5. The Crusades 

The last cry for help came from Constantinople in 1094. The fol- 
lowing year, Urban II assembled a great council at Clermont in 
France. His purpose: to prepare for war against the "infidels." The 
motives were not all religious. The Pope hoped to divert the war- 
like propensities of the princes whose incessant skirmishes were 
ruining Europe. In urging them to go on a mission to the Holy 
Land to rescue the Holy Sepulchre, he even appealed to their 
cupidity, pointing out the rich opportunities in "the land of milk 
and honey." 

The Pope's appeal was made primarily to the royalty and no- 
bility of Christian Europe. A more direct and emotional appeal 
was made to the masses by Peter the Hermit. A dramatic figure, 
clad in coarse garments and bearing a huge cross, this simple monk 
rode on a donkey and addressed crowds throughout France and 



32 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Germany. Vividly describing the cruelties visited upon Christian 
pilgrims to the Holy Land by the Seljuk Turks, he aroused his 
hearers to a high and almost hysterically religious fervor. 

Indeed, many were so moved they dropped their tools and left 
their shops to rush into the great adventure. Two great armies, 
which could be more accurately described as mobs, set out at once 
for the East. When they reached Hungary, they committed such 
excesses that the natives massacred them. Another section of this 
"People's Crusade" began a great slaughter of Jews as they 
marched through the Rhineland. Two other vanguards under Peter 
the Hermit reached Constantinople, after committing outrages 
along the way. A considerable portion of these wandering masses 
consisted of ne'er-do-wells moved rather by greed and adventure 
than by religion. Emperor Alexius, in self-defense, promptly 
shipped them across the Bosphorus where the Seljuks massacred 
them. There is no question that the Emperor was thoroughly 
alarmed at the appearance of these undisciplined hordes from 
Western Europe, When, in 1097, the regularly organized military 
forces of the First Crusade, consisting chiefly of Normans, cap- 
tured Nicaea, Alexius quickly took over and persuaded them to 
move on. Led by Godfrey de Bouillon, they trekked through des- 
ert and wilderness to attack distant Jerusalem. They suffered such 
severe privations on the way that of 600,000, who had started out, 
only about 40,000 reached the Holy City. 

Their assault, however, was successful On July 5, 1099, they 
captured Jerusalem. Jubilantly, the Crusaders entered the city and 
brutally slaughtered Jews and Moslems. According to one account, 
the streets were so high with blood that the soldiers splashed in it. 

Rivalry between the various leaders broke out almost at once. It 
is a painful record of unrelieved and unredeemed envy, hatred, and 
malice. The noblest role was played by Godfrey de Bouillon, who 
agreed to accept rule of the city but only with the title of De- 
fender of the Holy Sepulchre. He refused to be king where his 
Lord had been but a poor wandering teacher. The ecclesiastics 
were less humble: The Latin Church immediately assumed the 
authority of the Eastern Patriarch and the Byzantine Christians 
soon realized they were worse off under their co-bclicvers than 
under the Turks, 



PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 33 

With Jerusalem's fall, the mission of the Franks (as the Moslems 
called all the Crusaders) had been accomplished; and most of them 
returned home. The establishment of the so-called Latin Kingdom 
or colonies was the work of but a few thousand Crusaders. Four 
states were organized: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the vassal 
states of Edessa, Antioch and Tripoli. A year later, upon Godfrey 
de Bouillon's death, his brother, Baldwin, count of Edessa, was 
elected king. 

Although the Latin Kingdom was a highly feudal organization, 
it prospered. Trade, especially with the Italian cities, flourished; 
countless pilgrims and adventurers came to the Holy Land. Pro- 
tection and hospitality were provided by the newly formed mil- 
itary orders of the Hospitalers and the Templars. 

The Saracens, upholding the Moslem opposition to the Crusad- 
ers, did not, however, give up. In 1144, Edessa was captured by 
Zangi, the Governor of Mosul. This disaster caused an appeal for 
help to be sent to Europe. Louis VII of France and Emperor Con- 
rad III of Germany responded and their response was the Sacred 
Crusade (1147-49). These two Christian sovereigns, however, 
were unable to agree and ultimately were defeated in Asia Minor. 
Their crusade failed utterly. 

Meanwhile, the energetic and intelligent Saladin (Salah ed-Din), 
a brave warrior of Kurdish origin, restored Egypt to the suzerain- 
ty of the orthodox Caliph of Baghdad. Inspiring his followers with 
patriotic fervor, Saladin launched a holy war to recover Palestine. 
He crushed Guy de Lusignan, the worthless leader of the Cru- 
saders, at the battle of Hattin, near Tiberias in 1187. Weighed 
down by heavy armor under a tropical sun, the Franks suffered 
severe discomfort and were completely routed by the Saracens, 
who set the very fields on fire. The Moslems overran the Latin 
Kingdom, capturing town after town, including Jerusalem. Only 
Tyre, Tripoli, and Antioch now remained in the Crusaders' hands. 

The loss of Jerusalem aroused Europe. The Third Crusade 
( 1 189-1 192) was undertaken by the three leading Christian princes, 
Philipp Augustus of France, Richard I of England, and Frederick 
Barbarossa of Germany. The latter drowned while fording a small 
stream in Asia Minor. The other two sovereigns were bitterly 
jealous of each other. After Acre had been captured, Philipp re- 



34 THIS Is ISRAEL 

turned home. Despite Richard's valorhe is known as the Lion- 
Hearted he could not overcome the equally valiant Saladin. In 
order to gain Jerusalem, Richard even offered his sister as a bride 
to Saladin's brother; the Holy City was to be the dowry. In 1192, 
he made a three-year truce with the Saracen leader, according to 
which Christian pilgrims had free access to Jerusalem while the 
Crusaders were confined to a narrow strip on the coast. 

This humiliating situation induced Pope Innocent III to seek a 
Fourth Crusade (1202-1204). The Venetians, with primarily com- 
mercial interests, had the operations diverted to Constantinople. 
The city was taken by storm; and a Latin Empire was established 
which lasted half a century. The Crusade itself ended before it 
reached Moslem territory. 

An event of ghastly cruelty at that time was the Crusade of the 
Children in 1212. More than 50,000 boys and girls set out for the 
Holy Land, only to be killed or sold into slavery in Italy. 

The Fifth Crusade (1218-21) was also a failure. Because of his 
delay, Frederick II of Germany was excommunicated by the 
Pope; despite this, he obtained Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth 
and a strip of land near Acre by negotiations with the Sultan of 
Egypt. In 1225, he secured by marriage the title of King of Jeru- 
salem. 

A new horde now burst upon the land to disrupt peaceful rela- 
tions between Christians and Moslems. Mongolian tribes from east 
of the Caspian had conquered Persia in 1218; and, in 1228, the ruler 
of Damascus had called upon them for aid. In 1240, they transferred 
their allegiance to the Sultan of Egypt and pillaged northern Syria. 

Driven down through Galilee, the Kharezmians, as they were 
called, seized Jerusalem in 1244, massacring the inhabitants and 
plundering the churches. Then they marched on to Gaza. There, 
with the Egyptians, they defeated the Christians and Moslems who 
had united in self-defense. 

The loss of Jerusalem resulted in the Seventh Crusade (1245-49) 
under Louis IX of France. He invaded Egypt only to be defeated 
and made prisoner. Later, he was freed. 

The revolt of the Mamelukes in Egypt led them to a new Saracen 
effort to recover Palestine which was being invaded by Tartar 
tribes from Central Asia. Under their leader, Halagu, the Tartars 
captured Baghdad in 1258 and Damascus in 1260. Ravaging Syria, 



PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 35 

they were marching south when they were repulsed by Egyptian 
forces under Bibars (Baibars). The latter murdered the Sultan and 
then became the head of the Mamelukes who gradually recovered 
Palestine. The Christians fared badly; churches and shrines 
throughout the country were destroyed or looted. In 1291, Acre, 
the last remaining Crusader stronghold, fell. That sounded the 
death-knell of the Latin Kingdom. It had lasted less than two cen- 
turies. Indeed, as the historian telk us, it disappeared suddenly, 
"leaving no trace but ruins and a few names and an undying hatred 
of Christians among the native population." 

6. Palestine Under Egyptian Rule 

Palestine now became a completely Moslem land From 1291 to 
1516 it was a province of the realm of the Sultan of Egyp^c The 
Mamelukes were eager to continue trading with Venice, Pisa and 
Genoa, for they lacked such important materials as iron and wood; 
but they imposed such exorbitant tolls and bribes that trade soon 
ceased to be profitable. Revenues from the port of Alexandria in 
Egypt declined, especially after the circumnavigation of Africa 
and the discovery of America. Ports in the Mediterranean lost their 
importance, commerce languished. 

Palestine showed an even greater decline than Egypt. Its ports 
were deserted; few foreign merchants arrived. Lack of military 
protection from Bedouin raids and frequent quarrels among the 
local emirs resulted in devastation of wide areas. 

In 1400, the ferocious Tamerlane and his Asiatic hordes raided 
Damascus. As if this were not enough, the unhappy land was visited 
by earthquakes which levelled the walls of cities. 

The Christian edifices, despite gifts from pilgrims, were falling 
into decay or were being confiscated by the Moslems. Often 
mosques were built with materials pillaged from churches. For 
whatever reason, Christians were blamed; their property was seized 
and they were persecuted. The Latins, especially, were subjected 
to considerable suff ering. 

In Jerusalem, on the other hand, pilgrims were usually undis- 
turbed, since they brought in valuable revenues. Latin pilgrims 
were cared for by the Franciscans who eventually came to be re- 
garded as representatives of the Roman Church in Palestine. 

The Franciscans established a convent on Mount Zion and 



36 THIS Is ISRAEL 

bought the buildings there, including the Cenaculum. This, the 
room where Jesus is said to have held the Last Supper, may be 
visited even today. The Franciscans were able to maintain them- 
selves fairly well; they were under the protection of Venice and 
Genoa, important trading cities, and had acquired immense wealth, 
which enabled them to bribe local emirs who might be eager to 
seize church property or to start a persecution. 

The Eastern churches Georgian, Abyssinian, Copt, Jacobite, 
and Armenian were less fortunate, for continued exactions by 
sultans and emirs reduced them to the level of starvation. They 
were given no help by the Franciscans who displayed little toler- 
ance toward these Oriental Christians. 

7, The Jewish Community 

The Jewish community, on the other hand, was not divided. 
Jews, like Christians, suffered from the continued extortions of 
their Moslem rulers and from the general economic decline; but the 
wealthier communities of the Diaspora contributed to the mainte- 
nance of less fortunate kinsmen in Palestine. Spiritually, the Pales- 
tinians were buoyed up by the arrival, now and then, of rabbis and 
scholars from Europe. 

About 300 came to Acre from France and England in the year 
1211 at the very time a controversy was raging over the views of 
the great Egyptian philosopher, Moses Maimonides (1135-1204). 
The newly arrived scholars condemned his views in no uncertain 
terms. 

Later immigrants, including Jews from Germany, settled in im- 
poverished Jerusalem. Among them was Nachmanides, the distin- 
guished scholar who came from Spain and revived the Jewish com- 
munity of Jerusalem, making of it an active spiritual center. The 
expulsion of 1492 sent more Jews from Spain to the Holy Land. 
By 1522, there were apparently some 4000 in Jerusalem. 

8. Palestine Islamized 

Both the Jews and the Christians lost some of their shrines and 
Holy places because the person venerated whether Jesus or Solo- 
mon or Abraham or Rachel was sacred also to Islam. Thus the 



PALESTINE UNDER THE MOSLEMS 37 

Franciscan convent on Mount Zion was seized: King David was 
claimed as a Moslem prophet. 

By now Palestine had in fact become a Moslem country. During 
the first century and a half of Arab occupation, Christians and 
Jews constituted a majority of the population. The Crusades re- 
sulted in an increase in the number of Christians and a decrease in 
the number of Jews. During the Mameluke rule, both Christians 
and Jews declined because of the intolerable conditions. 

However, the Moslems did not fare much better. Due to the eco- 
nomic decline, heavy taxes, and general unrest, Palestine became 
a land of impoverished peasants whose misery was increased by 
droughts, plagues and earthquakes. The Holy Land had become a 
land of desolation. 

9. The Ottoman Turks 

In 1 5 1 6, Sultan Selim I of the Ottoman Turks defeated the Mame- 
lukes at Marj-Dabik. By this single, historic battle, Syria and Pales- 
tine were lost to Egypt and became part of the Ottoman Empire. 
Selim continued his triumphant career and occupied Egypt in 1517. 

The government of Palestine was organized along feudal lines. 
Local governors were appointed from Constantinople where the 
revenues were sent. Selim's Doomesday Book for Palestine re- 
mained the basis for land law and tenure until the twentieth cen- 
tury. 

One of the few outstanding rulers was Suleiman the Magnificent, 
who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 1537. In general, however, the 
Porte, as the Turkish government in Constantinople was called, 
took no special interest in Palestine save to exploit it. Through mis- 
rule, corruption, burdensome taxation, and wasteful use of land, 
the country's natural resources were destroyed. Palestine became 
barren, with an ignorant, poverty-stricken population eking out a 
miserable existence. The peasants were oppressed and suffered 
from the intermittent skirmishes of local sheiks, one of whom a 
Druse prince named Fahr-ed-din (1595-1634), went so far as to 
establish a Lebanese kingdom in defiance of the Sultan. 

There were repeated disturbances, for the order imposed by the 
Turks did not endure. In 1575, Jaffa was in ruins. In Acre, the 
chieftain Dhar el-Amir, rose in revolt Ahmad, a blood-thirsty 



38 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Bosnian who had formerly been a slave in Egypt, was sent to quell 
the insurrection. As a reward for his success, he was installed 
as governor at Acre. 

Although Ahmad beautified the city with many public buildings 
and mosques, he was capricious and tyrannical; and because of his 
cruelty, he acquired the title of el-Jazzar or "the Butcher." In 1791, 
he expelled a colony of French merchants. Eight years later, Na- 
poleon followed his conquest of Egypt by an invasion of Pales- 
tine and defeated el-Jazzar; but his capture of Acre was prevented 
by the timely arrival of British warships. 

Napoleon's passing through Palestine focussed attention on the 
country and brought about a brief period of order; but after his 
retreat, chaotic conditions prevailed again. The successor of el- 
Jazzar was the mild Suleiman, upon whose death in 1814, the fa- 
natic Abdullah Pasha came to power. 

The Egyptians attacked in 1831 and took Syria from Abdullah. 
The new ruler of Palestine, Mohammed AH, began a policy of ruth- 
less suppression. The appearance of the British, Austrian, and Rus- 
sian fleets off Beirut and the advance of the Turkish army led to a 
general revolt. Acre surrendered and the Egyptians were expelled. 

From 1840, the Turkish government strengthened its hold on 
Palestine. The powers of local authorities were reduced. Because 
of the increase in commercial interests of various European nations, 
many consular officials were installed in Palestine. 

Unhappily, the rivalries of the different Christian groups con- 
tinued to flare up. In 1847, a bitter dispute was carried on between 
the Greek Orthodox and the Latin (Roman Catholic) ecclesiastics 
in the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem about the right to 
mark with a star the birthplace of Jesus. This squabble became one 
of the contributory causes of the Crimean War. 

How far the Islamization of Palestine had gone and how power- 
less Christians had become was dramatically revealed by the proces- 
sion on June 30, 1835 when the cross was carried publicly through 
the streets of Jerusalem for the first time since the days of the Cru- 
sadersseven centuries earlier. 



Ill 

The Development of Zionism 



1. Plans To Restore Zion 

NO people in history has shown more fervent an attachment to a 
particular geographic area than the Jews have shown toward Pal- 
estine. This profound identification deeply rooted in the concept 
of "The Promised Land," the land promised to Abraham by God, 
was a longing that ran through the Books of the Prophets and the 
Psalms. It was and is an integral part of the belief in the coming 
of the Messiah. Its earliest manifestation was reflected in the return 
of the Babylonian exiles under Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple in 
Jerusalem. 

Though the destruction of the Jewish state by the Romans in 70 
A.D. and the consequent dispersion of the Jews was a terrible blow, 
the yearning for a return to Zion was almost immediately born in 
the exiles. It grew until the revolt of Bar-Kochba in 132; with the 
failure of his attempt at freedom, hope seemed to perish. 

It did not die entirely, however. Through the years it flickered 
fitfully, never shown openly, but reflected in liturgy, prayer, and 
poetry. Because of the Jew's ghetto seclusion in Europe, restraints 
were placed on his public participation in any political movement 
and Jewish nationalism "was always veiled. 

But the return remained uppermost in the minds of most pious 
Jews. In various parts of the world, time and again, ardent spirits 
arose to sound a clarion call to action, sometimes enforcing their 
plea with a claim to Messiahship. In 720, a Jew of Persia named 

39 



40 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Serenus urged a reconquest of Palestine. He called himself The 
Messiah, but later recanted. He was followed by the more suc- 
cessful and still venerated Abu Isa. In 1147, David Alroy, in Kur- 
distan, who was immortalized 700 years later by Benjamin Disraeli's 
novel, called upon the Jews to take up arms. In fact, in the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries many such fiery souls appeared. But all was 
in vain. Sunk in the lethargy of centuries, the cause seemed hope- 
less. 

In the sixteenth century, an imposter named David Reubeni and 
his disciple Solomon Molcho, set themselves up as would-be libera- 
tors. They evolved fantastic schemes, playing on the mysticism 
and piety of the Cabala; they were enthusiastically received in 
Spain, Italy, and Turkey. Again, it was to no avail. 

A more diplomatic approach that of negotiationwas used by 
Don Joseph Nassi, Duke of Naxos, and a favorite of the Sultan, 
who conferred with the Turkish court in an effort to prepare the 
way for a return. He won permission to colonize Tiberias. Offer- 
ing ships to migrant Jews, he succeeded in rebuilding the Tiberias 
region, but his efforts were doomed to failure. 

The longing for a return received a fresh impulse in the seven- 
teenth century from the Christian Millennarians, the "Fifth Mon- 
archy Men" of England, who awaited the Second Coming of 
Christ. Menasseh ben Israel of Amsterdam cooperated with the 
Millennarians in an effort to procure a settlement in England, pre- 
paratory to emigration to Palestine. 

In 1666, the appearance in Smyrna of Sabbatai Zevi, who called 
himself the Messiah, caused intense excitement among both Jews 
and Christians throughout Europe. Despite Zevi's later apostasy to 
Islam, many Jews stubbornly refused to be disillusioned. 

It was in this century that the influence of the Cabalists mani- 
fested itself. Judah the Saint headed a band of mystics who went 
to Palestine to pray and fast. This mystical attitude received further 
stimulation from the Chassidic movement. 

With the seventeenth century, a number of projects for a Jew- 
ish state not always in Palestine were drawn up, not only by 
Jews but by Christians. Among these was a plan by the Dane, 
Holgar, presented in 1695 to William HI of England; another, by 
the Frenchman, de Langallene, to the Turkish ambassador; still an- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 41 

other by Hermann Moritz of Saxony, who saw himself as king of 
a Jewish state in South America. In 1781, a group of German mili- 
tary officers in Livorno, Italy, proposed a plan by which Governor 
Ali Bey was to purchase Palestine. 

Napoleon, too, became interested In April, 1799, he issued a 
proclamation for the restoration of Jerusalem, inviting the Jews of 
the world "as rightful heirs of Palestine," to "claim the restoration 
of ... your political existence as a nation among the nations." 

One of the most curious proposals was that of Mordecai Manual 
Noah, an American journalist, dramatist, and diplomat. In 1825, 
he planned a Jewish state, to be known as "Ararat" and to be lo- 
cated on Grand Island in the Niagara River, but only as a pre- 
liminary step in the restoration of Palestine. 

Due to the dawn of the so-called Era of Enlightenment and the 
growth of political freedom in the latter part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, a reaction to the yearning for a return to Palestine set in. 
English Jews had been emancipated in 1753, and in France, the 
Revolution, through a decree of the National Assembly, September 
28, 1791, had given them full rights as free citizens, equal with all 
men. 

In Germany, the poet Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, extolled the 
Jews and preached tolerance, most notably through his famous 
play, Nathan the Wise. Lessing reportedly took as his model for 
Nathan, noble Jew of the play, the distinguished writer and phi- 
losopher, Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86). Mendelssohn favored 
assimilation of the Jew into European culture and emphasized the 
spiritual aspect of Judaism and the necessity for an Occidental 
orientation. His philosophic and esthetic writings were widely 
acclaimed and helped to make him a celebrity consulted by writ- 
ers and critics. As a successful combiner of Hebraic and modern 
culture, he is credited with many of the modern trends of nine- 
teenth century Judaism, 

True, a fresh interest in the Holy Land was now shown; but 
Zion was to be cherished as a monument of ancient glory. This 
new focus on the Land of Israel stemmed from more than merely 
academic interest: it embraced the desire to improve living con- 
ditions for the Palestinian Jews. 



42 THIS Is ISRAEL 

2. Beginnings of Modern Palestine 

In 1832 a quarrel broke out between Mehemet Ali of Egypt and 
Sultan Mahmud II over the cession of Palestine and Syria as a re- 
ward for Egyptian aid in the Greek Revolution. Mehemet Ali sent 
his son, Ibrahim, to seize the promised areas. Palestine thus became 
in 1 8 3 3 a province of Egypt tinder Ibrahim. 

His reign marked the beginning of modern Palestine. Govern- 
ment offices were efficiently administered; Christians and Jews 
were treated as equals of Moslems; Western merchants, techni- 
cians, and scientists were welcomed in Palestine. In 1838, Edward 
Robinson, the American Biblical scholar, laid the foundation of 
modern Biblical archaeology. Living conditions of the Jewish 
population were improved by generous contributions from Sir 
Moses Montefiore, the Rothschilds, Albert Cohn, and other 
wealthy Jews. Roman Catholics, as well as the various Protestant 
denominations, built schools, hospitals, and churches to serve local 
Christians and the increasing stream of pilgrims. 

This period of prosperity and amelioration ended in 1840 when 
the European powers, fearing an expansion of Egyptian strength, 
shelled Acre and forced Ibrahim to evacuate the throne. The land 
reverted to its previous chaotic lawlessness within the framework 
of the Ottoman Empire. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Jewish popula- 
tion of Palestine was at the lowest total for three millennia. In 1827, 
Jerusalem had less than a thousand Jews; Safad, the most populous 
community, had at the highest only several thousand. 

A dozen years later, conditions had changed considerably. The 
statement of the first British consul, issued in 1839, reported a Jew- 
ish population of about 10,000, with 5,000 in Jerusalem, 1,500 in 
Safad, and in 750 in Hebron. Sephardic Jews, tracing descent from 
Spain, constituted the largest contingent. 

The Ashkenazi Jews, on the other hand, hailing from Eastern 
Europe, increased rapidly during the nineteenth century. They 
added little strength to the community, for they consisted largely 
of idealistic students and of old people who had come to Pales- 
tine to die. 
Because of the extreme poverty, foreign aid was absolutely im- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 43 

perative, if only to hold body and soul together. This relief took 
the form of an annual collection in the Diaspora, known as the 
Halukkah* Unfortunately, it was not done efficiently; money-lend- 
ers charged high rates of interest and traveling agents demanded 
exorbitant fees. In 1880, the collections amounted to about $300,- 
000. Aware of these annual contributions from abroad, the Turkish 
officialdom had the impression that there was considerable wealth 
among the Jews and that its exactions should be increased accord- 
ingly. 

Although Halukkah was maintained throughout the century, 
many observers, both Christians and Jews, recognized it as an un- 
wholesome form of parasitism which could never lead to the de- 
velopment of a sound, self-sustaining community. The miserable 
plight of the majority of Palestinian Jews called for sympathy and 
assistance. 

Curiously enough, the greatest improvements during the first 
half of this century came from Christian rather than Jewish efforts. 
Especially keen was the interest of a number of English groups. 
The British vice-consulate in Jerusalem was raised to a consulate in 
1839; and Mr. Young, the incumbent, was instructed by the For- 
eign Office to protect the Jews. Other groups had such protec- 
tion; for example, France tacitly acted as the representative of the 
interests of the Roman Catholics in Palestine. 

James Finn, Young's successor as British consul, knew Hebrew 
and took an intense personal interest in the welfare of the Jews. 
His wife was the daughter of the leader of the London Society for 
the Promotion of Christianity among the Jews. This connection 
may sometimes have aroused suspicion; but, on the whole, the Finns 
were a source of great comfort to the Jews, whom they defended 
and provided with work. 

There were, however, a number of altruistic European Jews 
who were deeply concerned over wretched conditions in Palestine. 
Among foreign visitors who came to the Holy Land to see the situ- 
ation at first hand was Sir Moses Montefiore, the cultured and 
wealthy English philanthropist. He undertook his first pilgrimage 
in 1827 and, in all, made seven visits. He was appalled at the misery 
in which his co-religionists lived; he did not rest until he initiated 
measures for their relief. His plans for resettlement were thwarted 



44 THIS Is ISRAEL 

by the Turks, but he was able to build cottages and introduce better 
agricultural methods. He succeeded, as well, in interesting British 
and French philanthropists in the cause. One of the latter, Adolphe 
Cremieux, accompanied him in 1840. His visit led to the founding 
of the Alliance Israelite Universelle in 1860, the group responsible 
for the establishment of Mikveh Israel, the first agricultural school 
in Palestine. 

Between 1850 and 1870, Montefiore secured the support of sev- 
eral English societies organized to promote colonization in Pales- 
tine. The difficult question was always that of acquiring land. In 
1876, Hayim Guedalla, a nephew of Montefiore, negotiated with 
the Turks for the purchase of the entire area, but failed. The at- 
tempt was made repeatedly by other Zionists in the years that fol- 
lowed, but always in vain. 

3. Attempts at Colonization 

The movement for large scale colonization in Palestine devel- 
oped between 1860 and 1880, chiefly in Central and Eastern Eu- 
rope. Pioneers were Rabbi Gutmacher of Graetz in Poland, Rabbi 
Hirsch Kalischer of Thorn in Prussia, and Judah Alkalay. Kalischer 
argued that Judaism was a national religion which constantly faced 
dissolution in the Diaspora, and the idea of the Jewish state would, 
therefore, have to represent the religious purposes and aspirations 
of its people. 

Kalischer in 1860 convened a meeting of rabbis and laymen at 
Thorn to discuss practical measures for immigration and settle- 
ment. He was opposed by the orthodox who maintained that such 
plans were contrary to the Messianic ideal. Within three years, 
however, the first colonization society was founded, at Frankfort 
on the Oder. 

In contrast to Kalischer's religious nationalistic approach to state- 
hood, Moses Hess, social reformer and friend of Marx and Engels, 
and author of Rom und Jerusalem in 1862, pleaded for the restora- 
tion of Israel in the political sense. His arguments were: 1) The 
Jew will always remain an alien among other peoples; 2) His home 
and national center is Palestine; 3) There a new, socialistic state, 
based on Mosaic principles, should be established; and 4) The 
solution of the Jewish question would aid in bringing about uni- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 45 

versal brotherhood. Although scarcely any- interest was evinced 
in his ideas, save for a diatribe from Karl Marx and derision from 
Reform Jews, Hess was, in truth, the first Zionist In later years, his 
book became a Zionist classic, particularly for the Socialist sector 
of the movement 

4. English Interest in the Return 

As we have noted, the British consuls in Jerusalem undertook to 
protect and aid the Jews in Palestine. Through the efforts of Sir 
Moses Montefiore, the British public as well as their officialdom 
became aware of Palestine's problems and its magnetic power for 
the Jewish people. Interest was heightened by a number of factors: 
the hopes of Christian Millennarians who expected the Second 
Coming of Christ; the opening of the Eastern Question and the 
championing of the rights of suppressed nationalities; and, finally, 
the political desirability of establishing in the strategic Middle 
East a Jewish state under British protection. 

A number of English and American officials organized schemes 
for the benefit of Jews in the Holy Land. They were in an old 
tradition. As long ago as the seventeenth century, a dozen publica- 
tions in England had urged the Return to Zion, mostly on a religious 
basis. Later, in 1840, Lord Palmerston wrote to Lord Ponsonby, 
then British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (Constantinople) : 
"There exists at present among the Jews dispersed over Europe 
a strong notion that the time is approaching when their nation 
is to return to Palestine, and, consequently, their wish to go 
thither has become more keen, and their thoughts have been bent 
more intensely than before upon the means of realizing their 
wish." 

More than a generation after this, Lord Palmerston joined with 
Lord Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli) and Lord Salisbury in sup- 
porting Laurence Oliphant's negotiations of 1879 and 1882 with 
the Porte in Constantinople (Ottoman Turks) for a concession to 
establish an autonomous Jewish state. In literature, sympathetic 
interest in the problem was given striking expression in George 
Eliot's novel, Daniel Deronda. She called for ". . . an organic 
center, a heart and brain to watch and guide and execute; the out- 
raged Jew shall have a defense in the court of nations; as the out- 



46 THIS Is ISRAEL 

raged Englishman or American. And the world will gain as Israel 
gains. For there will be a community in the van of the East which 
carries the culture and the sympathies of every great nation in its 
bosom; and there will be a land set for the halting place of enmi- 
ties." 

Similarly, it was Lord Shaftesbury who, in 1854, wrote in his 
diary: "There is a country without a nation, and God now, in His 
wisdom and mercy, directs us to a nation without a country." 

When it became apparent that the Turks would not permit the 
founding of an independent state, various British liberals sug- 
gested the Sinai Peninsula as a location; but an investigating com- 
mission found the land unsuitable for colonization. Chamberlain 
then suggested a fertile strip of land, about the size of the Holy 
Land, in Uganda, East Africa, which was to be known as "New 
Palestine." The presentation of an official memorandum from the 
British Office split the 1903 Zionist Congress in two. Later on, the 
Uganda idea was entirely dropped. 

British interest continued, however, as was evidenced by the 
issuance later of the Balf our Declaration, the expulsion of the Turks 
from Palestine by British arms, and the establishment of the Brit- 
ish Mandate over the area. 

5. East European Phase of Zionism 

The emancipation of the Jews of Western Europe during the 
nineteenth century and their acceptance in the highest literary and 
intellectual circles could not help but encourage assimilation. 
Among cultured European Jews the idea of a return to Palestine 
was silently repudiated or ignored. When, in 1878, a memoran- 
dum was presented by Zionists to the German Reichstag for the 
re-establishment of a Jewish state, Bismarck commented that it 
seemed to have originated with persons of unsound mind and was 
not worth discussing. 

Two developments interfered to halt the growing assimilation of 
Jews into European society. One was the rise of nationalism; the 
other, the spread of anti-Semitism. The former isolated the Jew 
as an alien; the latter made his life as a normal citizen unpleasant if 
not intolerable. There were, of course, fair-minded sensitive Chris- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 47 

tians, who deploring this trend, formed societies against anti- 
Semitism; but they could do little to stem the tide. 

Anti- Jewish feeling reached its climax in Russia where the Jews 
were blamed for the murder of Czar Alexander II. In 1882, violent 
pogroms broke out, the Cossacks slaughtering and pillaging the 
guiltless. Of those who escaped, many fled to the United States; 
others sought refuge in Palestine. 

It is not strange, then, that nationalistic feeling should have been 
rekindled, and that it should become especially strong among the 
Jews of Eastern Europe. In the 1870's, Perez Smolenskin, the 
novelist, argued violently against assimilation; he was the protago- 
nist of a national-cultural renaissance. The Hibbath Zion (Love of 
Zion) movement which developed from 1870 to 1880 was reflected 
in the birth of modern Hebrew literature. Smolenskin, supported 
by Eliezer ben Yehuda, who stressed the need for Hebrew as the 
national language, and by Leo Pinsker who wrote the rousing 
pamphlet, Auto-Emancipation, is looked upon as the real founder 
of the Zionist organization. 

The Eastern Jews had a fundamentally practical point of view. 
Pinsker's "Back to Zion" movement urged the re-establishment of 
the Jewish nation as soon as possible on Jewish soil. Societies of 
Choveve Zion (Lovers of Zion), encouraging immigration and 
colonization, sprang up and spread rapidly. 

In 1881, a group of Jewish students from Kharkov University 
toured the country with the slogan: "O house of Jacob, let us go 
forth." The initials of this phrase in Hebrew spelled BILU; the 
group became known as Biluim. Amid the enthusiasm, Achad ha- 
Am (Asher Ginsberg), writer and critic, called for a diligent spiri- 
tual preparation a call he repeated many times during his eventful 
life. Practical measures were immediately taken; in 1882, two 
groups were sent to Palestine. The first colonies of the Russian 
Biluim were at Rishon le Zion (First in Zion) and Petah Tikvah, 
Five settlements were started by Jews from Poland. 

Well nigh overwhelming difficulties beset the pioneers. They 
were unaccustomed to hard physical work, to the malaria-ridden 
climate, and to almost primitive social conditions; they had to rely 
chiefly on Arab fellahin for the very necessities of life. Their 
troubles were increased by hostility from the local population, sus- 



48 THIS Is ISRAEL 

picions of the Turkish officiate who prohibited the further buying 
of land, and finally by crop failure. Wretched and miserable, the 
settlers were on the point of starvation. 

The project, seemingly doomed, was rescued from disaster by 
Baron Edmond de Rothschild. His aid saved the colonies but en- 
tirely changed their character. Agricultural experts were sent in. 
Cheap Arab labor was employed to do the work; and a Jewish 
"planter class" eventually developed. Bribes were paid to Turkish 
officials. The fruits and vegetables raised were not consumed but 
prepared for export. The market was not always good; and more 
than once the Baron had to buy the entire crop for himself. 

This aid, another form of Hdukkah, was far removed from what 
the Russian idealists had planned. Not until 1897, and then only 
through initiative from Western Europe, did Zionism enter a new 
phase. 

6. Theodor Herzl 

Strangely enough, West European Zionists were almost wholly 
unaware of the Russian experiments in Palestine. Less concerned 
with the practical aspects of colonization, they thought in political 
and diplomatic terms. Thus the Eastern Zionists came to be known 
as the "practicals," while the Western Zionists were called the "po- 
liticals." 

The distinguished leader of the West European Zionists, "the 
politicals," and founder of the World Zionist Organization, was 
Theodor Herzl, an Austrian playwright, journalist, and lawyer. 
Born in Budapest in 1860, he had received an excellent education 
in Vienna. He was a successful writer, living in a comfortable 
world of literature and art, but with scant knowledge of his an- 
cestral Hebrew culture. He showed little interest in Zionism, re- 
marking: "The historic homeland of the Jews no longer has any 
value for them. It is childish [for a Jew] to go in search of the 
geographic location of his homeland." Gradually, his views 
changed; and in the play, The New Ghetto, he definitely identified 
himself with Judaism. 

In 1894, Herzl was sent as the correspondent of the Viennese 
Neue Freie fresse to Paris to report the famous Dreyfus case. The 
trial seemed of little importance to him and he shared the common 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 49 

belief that Dreyfus was guilty; but he reacted sharply to the 
howling mob and the violent demonstrations of anti-Semitism. 

In May 1895, he wrote a stirring letter to Baron Maurice de 
Hirsch on the problem of anti-Semitism. This marked his entry into 
the field of political action and the beginning of a truly meteoric 
career. With tireless zeal and energy, he fought for his ideals dur- 
ing the next nine years. Then, completely burned out, he died at 
the age of 44. 

In Herzl's Tagebucher (Diaries), he set down changing ideas 
about the Jewish problem. His activity was ceaseless, his corres- 
pondence, voluminous. Addressing himself to leading figures in 
public life, he sent a 65-page pamphlet to Baron Rothschild; a let- 
ter to Chancellor Bismarck; a request for an interview to the Duke 
of Baden; a memorandum to Kaiser Wilhelm II (1896). In fact, he 
eagerly sought the intervention of the German sovereign, whom 
he met in Constantinople, Mikveh Israel, and Jerusalem in 1898. 
"We need a protector . . . and German protection would be more 
welcome than any other," he said. 

At first, the Kaiser manifested interest in the idea of a protector. 
Later, he displayed an attitude of cautious benevolence, evidently 
having been influenced by Abdul Hamid and by his Chancellor, 
von Billow. 

HerzFs book, Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), published in 
1896, argued for a land of the Jews, not necessarily Palestine. After 
Herzl had visited the Holy Land, he wrote Alt Neuland (Old-New 
Land), describing Palestine as he saw it in 1898 and as he imagined 
it would be 21 years later. It is striking to note how prophetic 
Herzl's vision was. He envisioned a land of great cities, farms, and 
gardens; of modern technological processes; a canal connecting 
the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean; the chemical wealth de- 
veloped; a cooperative economic order; and relations of peace 
and amity with the Arabs. Significantly, he omitted any reference 
to Hebrew as the language of the country. 

Herzl had attempted to secure some powerful Western ruler 
as a protector for the new state; he had also sought to purchase 
Palestine from Abdul Hamid. Inasmuch as Turkish finances were 
in a shocking condition (Turkey was called "the sick man of 
Europe") and the Sultan was tinder continual pressure from 



50 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Western creditor nations, an opportune moment for negotiating 
an agreement seemed at hand. Herzl offered to effect a liquidation 
of the debts for a concession in Palestine. The Sultan, however, 
would admit Jews only as Turkish citizens. He rejected outright 
any notion of an autonomous Jewish state. To win him over, 
Herzl had sought a fund of ten million pounds sterling. He met 
Baron Edmond de Rothschild in Paris in 1896 and broached the 
subject, but found him, too, unalterably opposed to a Jewish 
state. Finding his efforts to win over Christian rulers and Jewish 
philanthropists futile, Herzl decided to organize the masses. With 
unrelenting vigor, he carried on his campaign in London, Berlin, 
and Vienna. 
A new spirit had entered the Zionist movement. 

7. Modern Zionism 

On August 29, 1897, the first Zionist Congress met in Basle. Of 
it Herzl was to say later, with prophetic insight: "If I were to 
sum up the Basle Congress in one word which I shall not do 
openly it would be: at Basle I founded the Jewish State." Its 
purpose was formulated by the writer Max Nordau, whom Herzl 
had gained as an adherent to the cause. 

"Zionism seeks a publicly recognized, legally secured home (or 
homeland) in Palestine for the Jewish people." The means to this 
end were enunciated in four basic points which remained in force 
until World War I: 

1. The promotion, on suitable lines, of the colonization of Pal- 
estine by Jewish agricultural and industrial workers. 

2. The organization and unification of the whole of Jewry by 
means of appropriate institutions, local and international, in 
accordance with the laws of each country. 

3. The strengthening and fostering of Jewish national sentiment 
and consciousness. 

4. Preparatory steps towards obtaining government consent, where 
necessary, to the attainment of the aims of Zionism, 

According to this interpretation of Zionism, the Jewish people 
were a national or ethnic unity. The word itself "Zionism"was 
coined in 1893 by Nathan Birnbaum, a Viennese journalist who, 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 51 

interested in the cultural aspect of the movement, had organized 
a meeting of cultural societies in Vienna. Zionist student groups 
had been formed in Germany and Austria. Zionism had made 
considerable progress but not until Herzl called the first Congress 
did it become a well organized movement It was the brilliant 
and heroic Herzl who founded and maintained at his own expense 
a Zionist organ, Die Welt. It was he who gave dynamism and di- 
rection to the Idea. 

Herzl, who in his pamphlet of 1896, Der Judenstaat, had pro- 
jected a Jewish state under the suzerainty of the Sultan despite 
hostile Turkish laws in 1882 and 1891, now renewed his contacts 
with the Porte. His efforts met with no success. He refused to 
give up the idea of achieving the Jewish National Home by per- 
sonal diplomacy. With tireless energy he tried to reach kings and 
ministers, bankers and philanthropists. He ruined his health and 
impoverished his family by extensive travels through Europe and 
the Middle East. Despite setbacks, he continued to seek a charter 
from the Turkish ruler for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 
May of 1901, he did succeed in getting an interview with the Sul- 
tan; but it led to nothing. The idea of an independent Jewish state 
was flatly rejected. 

Twice in 1898, Herzl had audiences with young Kaiser Wilhelm 
II of Germany once in Constantinople and again in Jerusalem. 
He pleaded with the Kaiser to become protector of the projected 
state, or to use his influence with Sultan Abdul Hamid but to 
no avail. After the Kishinev pogrom in 1903, Herzl journeyed to 
St. Petersburg to urge intervention by and help from the Russian 
government in the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Pales- 
tine, but likewise with no success. 

Herd's attempts to raise money for a charter were severely 
criticized by the Russian Zionists. So great had become the despair 
among the persecuted Jews of Russia and Rumania that the East- 
ern faction began rebelling against HerzPs diplomatic methods 
which seemed to bring no results. 

A sharp division in the Zionist ranks took place between the 
"Politicals" who supported Herzl and the "Practicals" who de- 
manded Gegenwartsarbeitthat is, immediate colonization of 



52 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Palestine and Zionist cultural programs in lands of the Diaspora. 
The Eastern Zionists were also violently opposed to the accept- 
ance of any territory other than Palestine for colonization. 

This issue of an alternative territory led to open revolt at the 
Sixth Zionist Congress at Basle in August, 1903, when Herzl sub- 
mitted to the gathering of an offer from Joseph Chamberlain, 
British Colonial Secretary, to establish a colony of Jews in 
Uganda, East Africa, under British supervision. 

The presentation of this plan caused a furor. Herzl was accused 
of betraying the Zionist cause. In vain he explained that it was 
merely a temporary measure. The indignation of the Russian dele- 
gates could not be calmed: they withdrew in a body. Herzl ob- 
tained a nominal majority, but his real support was gone. 

The leader of the opposition was Menahem Mendel Ussishkin, 
a veteran Zionist, who held a special conference later in Kharkov. 
There the Uganda proposal was entirely repudiated and a demand 
was made for greater emphasis on colonization of Palestine. Herzl, 
who had at first had no appreciation of the fervent attachment to 
Palestine, was drawn closer to the Russian point of view. He sub- 
mitted to the demands of the opposition and became reconciled 
with them, but unfortunately it was too late. The excitement and 
strain caused by the acrimonious dispute had worn him out. He 
had sacrificed himself physically and financially for the cause, 
and on July 3, 1904, at the age of 44, he died of a heart ailment. 

His death was a severe blow to the movement. Max Nordau, 
also an intellectual and a journalist, was asked to act as leader, 
but declined. Finally, David Wolfsohn, a close associate of Herzl, 
was elected president of the World Zionist Organization. Wolf- 
sohn, a successful merchant at Cologne, immediately transferred 
to that city the headquarters of the movement and the editorial 
office of Die Welt. 

Wolfsohn, extremely conscientious, cautious, and conservative, 
suspended all political activity. The first Congress after Herd's 
death met in 1905 in Basle. Despite a meeting of the opposition in 
Freiburg, Wolfsohn was re-elected president. 

Although the Zionist movement continued to follow the po- 
litical program laid down by its founder, Herzl, events in the 
East stimulated efforts to colonize Palestine. Many young Zion- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 53 

ists immigrated after the Revolution of 1905. During these years, 
the Labor Movement, Poale Zion, was organized. 

These developments influenced even the conservative groups, 
so that the Eighth Zionist Congress at the Hague in 1907 decided 
to establish a bureau in Jaffa and to organize the Palestine Land 
Development Company. 

Opposition to Wolfsohn grew, however; and, in 191 1, the Tenth 
Congress at Hamburg elected Professor Otto Warburg, famous 
botanist and later Nobel Prize winner, as the new chairman and 
moved the central office to Berlin. 

More emphasis was placed on the colonization of Palestine 
which, up to that time, had been far from successful. In fact, even 
the millions of dollars which Baron Edmond de Rothschild 
poured into a number of settlements seemed to accomplish litde. 
The Rothschild largesse had, it was true, saved them from com- 
plete disintegration but it had also changed their character. In 
many instances, the struggle of the pioneers with malaria, barren 
soil, unpleasant climate, and constant poverty proved too much. 
Even the "Lovers of Zion" began to refer to Palestine as a "land 
of corpses and graves." Only the communities supported by Roth- 
schild money prospered; and, on these "plantations," all the manual 
work was done by Arabs. 

In 1904, a new wave of immigration arrivedyoung, enthusi- 
astic students and intellectuals of socialist ideology from Russia 
and Poland who belonged to the Poale Zion (Labor Zionist) 
movement and had little in common with the older, discouraged 
settlers. They wanted to work with their hands and to earn their 
bread by the sweat of their brow, hoping thus to build up a new 
form of life in Palestine. Their outlook had been formed largely 
by the teachings of the founder of the pioneer movement, Aaron 
David Gordon. 

8. Aaron David Gordon 

Throughout the nineteenth century, there had been sporadic 
attempts to establish colonies in Palestine, but with litde success. 
As had already been noted, even the first settlements, begun un- 
der the auspices of the Zionist Congress, would have failed had 
not Baron Rothschild rescued them. 



54 THIS Is ISRAEL 

The one man who worked out a sound philosophy for coloniz- 
ing efforts and set the pattern of enduring agricultural communi- 
ties in Palestine was Aaron David Gordon. He was the father of 
chalutziut (the pioneer movement of chalutzim, the Hebrew word 
for pioneers), 

Gordon was born in Troyanov of Podolia in Russia, in the year 
1856. As the only son of well-to-do parents, he was related to the 
baronial family of de Giinzberg. After receiving a thorough 
academic education, he became the manager of some of his kins- 
folk's estates. 

Gordon, by nature a frail and gentle man, occupied himself 
with intellectual pursuits. He read widely and was an accomp- 
lished linguist. Though his work was comparatively easy and he 
lived the comfortable life of a cultured gentleman, he could not 
help but be deeply disturbed by the character of the Jewish life 
about him. Prohibited from owning land, the Russian and Polish 
Jews had been forced into ghettos where they eked out a living 
as tailors, peddlers, junk-dealers, small tradesmen, or money- 
lenders. It was an unwholesome social system which led on the 
one hand to an over-emphasis on money and, on the other hand, 
to a fanatical devotion to learning and mysticism. Manual labor 
was despised; farm work was regarded with contempt. 

Gordon rebelled against this. He began to write and lecture, 
stressing the idea of a return of the Jews to the soil. He empha- 
sized the concept of Am Adam a people regenerated through 
its individuals. Relations with other peoples must be governed by 
the same moral laws that prevail between a man and his neighbor. 
Work is based on a cosmic idea that binds man to the entire uni- 
verse; but above all, it binds a man to the soil of his own country, 
so that a people can take root in its own land by work. 

Gordon stressed the importance of independent, personal ac- 
tion. He did not believe in the liberating power of politics and a 
political program. 

The nobility of his thinking can be seen in his insistence on a 
loving relationship between mankind and all living things, es- 
pecially animals. Even the latter were to enjoy the Sabbath rest. 

Gordon's philosophical-religious views, reminding one of Al- 
bert Schweitzer's gospel of "Reverence for Life," were outlined 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 55 

in Dath Haabodah (Religion of Work) and formed the basis of 
the ideology of Hapoel Hatzair (The Young Workers). Con- 
tinually Gordon reiterated the need to begin a national regenera- 
tion of the "very source of life" the land. 

"If we do not till the soil with our own hands," he wrote, "it 
will not be ours. . . . A people which has been completely cut off 
from nature and for a thousand years confined within the walls of 
the ghetto, a people that has become accustomed to every mode 
of life save the natural one the life of self-conscious and self- 
supporting labor such a people will never become a living, nat- 
ural, laboring people unless it strains every fibre of its will-power 
to attain this goal. Labor is not merely the factor which estab- 
lishes man's contact with the land and his claim to the land; it is 
also the principal force in the building of a national civilization." 

At the age of 48, Gordon, now completely fired by his self- 
imposed mission, gave up his comfortable position, left his wife 
and children in Russia, and set out for Palestine. This refined, 
sensitive vegetarian and non-resistant, whose white hands had 
never known manual labor, determined to seek "redemption 
through self -toil on the land." 

But though Gordon was eager to throw himself into work, the 
Palestine of 1903 was not eager to accept him as a worker. To his 
dismay, the champion of a back-to-the-soil trend encountered, 
even in Palestine, an unnatural, unhealthy social structure. There 
were about 50,000 Jews in Palestine, some of whom lived in the 
ghettos of the cities, while others operated plantations on which 
the work was done by underpaid fellahin (Arab peasants). Gor- 
don was not regarded with friendly eyes; his idealism was mis- 
understood. At length, he secured work as a laborer near Jaffa 
and then exclaimed: "I feel like a newborn child." 

He recognized the unwholesomeness of the plantation system 
and declared that the return to the land could be effective only if 
accompanied by the creation of new social patterns "marked pri- 
marily by a productive rather than a parasitic system." 

He developed his ideas of collective living and, in 1909, induced 
ten boys and two girls to join him in the Jordan Valley. After a 
number of false starts, a site not far from the Sea of Galilee was 
chosen and named Dagania (Place of Corn). Here was founded 



56 THIS Is ISRAEL 

in 1911 the first kvutzah or kibbutz and all later communal set- 
tlements were modeled on its pattern. 

The situation which the twelve young idealists from Russia 
faced was far from attractive. On a plot of rocky, blighted land, 
they expected to raise farm products; in a hostile atmosphere, they 
planned a new, collective society. Private property was to be 
abolished, women to be given the same rights and obligations as 
men, meals eaten in common, and babies reared in a community 
nursery. 

Dagania's first years were filled with disappointment and priva- 
tion. These young settlers were wholly ignorant of the rudiments 
of agriculture. Unhealthy climate, barren soil, and hostile neigh- 
bors all added to their difficulties. 

Still, it prospered. With zeal and enthusiasm the chalutzim over- 
came obstacles. New settlements were thus encouraged; and 
though the newer collectives have in some measure changed their 
character, the original kvutzah remains. 

Quite understandably, this life proved too rigorous for some 
pioneers. As early as 1921, several members of Dagania rebelled 
and left the settlement. Since they belonged to a socialistic society, 
they could take nothing with them; in fact, they lost everything 
and had to start all over again. 

While these rebels accepted the basic ideal of self-toil on the 
land, they were opposed to sacrificing every vestige of individ- 
ualism and personal privacy. Others joined the secessionists; and 
on September 1, 1921, seventy-five families founded the first 
moshav ovdim, in the middle of a swamp in malaxia-ridden Emek 
Jezreel. Called Nahalal (Trail Blazer), it is today a prosperous 
community. 

Here each family was given 26% acres of land. Each share- 
holder was free to build his home, to farm his land as he wished. 
Forbidden, however, was the employment of kbor, either Arab 
or Jewish. 

Yet even this was too extreme for some, and a further modifica- 
tion of the kvutzah developed. This was the moshav shitufi~a 
cooperative, rather than a collective, enterprise. This type of set- 
tlement, first established in 1936 near Tiberias, has proved highly 
successful, especially in recent years as European immigrants 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 57 

found it a unique combination of individual rights and coopera- 
tive methods. 

Gordon, philosopher of the back-to-the-soil movement, re- 
mained true to his original kvutzah, Dagania Aleph, where he 
lived and labored. Never a man of violence, he did not believe 
in force and would arm himself only with a whistle while on 
guard duty against Arab adventurers. Calm and serene, looking 
like a bearded prophet, he passed the autumn of his days among his 
fellow settlers, faithful adherents to his views. In 1922, he died 
at Dagania; and there he lies buried, near a museum displaying 
manuscripts of his works. 

His philosophy and design for living had triumphed. Today, 
over one-fifth of the people of Israel live on the land and till the 
soil. In 1948, there were 143 kibbutzim, 57 moshvay ovdim, and 11 
moshavim shitufiyim. Since then, the two latter types have been 
growing rapidly. 

A. D. Gordon's thought resulted not only in a successful type 
of rural community but laid the foundation for far-reaching activ- 
ity. His dream of a new way of life for Jews led in 1920 to the 
founding in Haifa of Histadruth, Israel's labor union. It is today 
the strongest single influence political, economic, or social in the 
whole country. Its ideal: "Labor ... is the principal force in the 
building of a national civilization," had been expressed forty years 
before its founding by Aaron David Gordon, the philosopher of 
labor. 

9. Ellezer Ben Yehuda 

The cultured and successful Viennese journalist, Theodor Herzl, 
laid the political foundations of Israel; the sensitive and esthetic 
Russian, Aaron David Gordon, set the pattern of its social system 
and labor movement; but it was an ill and penniless Lithuanian, 
Perlman, who, more than any other, helped give the new state its 
language: the ancient Hebrew tongue. 

The well-to-do Herzl used himself up in nine years; yet the poor 
consumptive from the Baltic, though he worked ceaselessly, seemed 
to possess tireless energy, for he lived to be 64. Perlman or Eliezer 
Ben Yehuda as he called himself later was born in 1858 in a small 



58 THIS Is ISRAEL 

cottage in Luzhky, Lithuania, where his orthodox parents ran a 
grocery store. 

Since childhood, when he had read a Hebrew translation of 
Robinson Crusoe, he had been keenly interested in that ancient 
language. He became convinced that Hebrew, then used only by 
rabbis for religious purposes, should become the daily language 
of the Jewish people. In Paris, where he had gone to study medi- 
cine, he decided that to hold a people together the use of such a 
common language was as important as the possession of a given 
piece of land. With enthusiasm, he determined to devote himself 
to the restoration of that ancient tongue which had begun to die 
as a living language at the time of the Maccabees, What a tremen- 
dous task this would be was pointed out to him by Tshashnikov, 
a broadminded Polish nobleman who had befriended him. 

But Ben Yehuda remained undaunted. Despite opposition from 
all sides, no sources of personal income, and a dangerous tubercu- 
lar condition, he determined to go to Palestine. He arranged for 
Deborah, the distiller's daughter from his native town, to meet 
him in Constantinople, where they were married. They reached 
Jerusalem in 1881. The squalor and filth of the Holy City appalled 
them, but soon they adjusted themselves. 

Ben Yehuda overlooked much that he disliked in the social con- 
ditions, customs, economic arrangements and orthodox religion of 
Jerusalem. With a remarkable singleness of purpose, he devoted 
himself almost exclusively to his task: the restoration of Hebrew as 
a living language. From the start he insisted on speaking nothing 
but Hebrew. He began a newspaper, HatzebiThe Deer and 
organized classes in Hebrew. He lived and dreamed in the ancient 
but now modernized language of his fathers. When his first child 
was born, he extolled his wife as "the first Hebrew mother in 
2,000 years." As if it were a matter of life and death, he only per- 
mitted those who knew Hebrew to approach the baby. Ben Ye- 
huda's fanaticism in this respect caused many humorous incidents. 
One day, when Deborah jumped in fright on seeing a scorpion and 
screamed "Akreb!", her husband impatiently remarked, "How 
many times have I told you it is 'akrab' and not 'akreb'!" 

His efforts to make Hebrew the language of every-day life were 
opposed, and often violently, by many groups. The Orthodox con- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 59 

sidered his objective a desecration of the Holy Tongue which, 
for centuries, had been reserved for religious purposes. More 
secular Jews of recent European origin used their native lan- 
guagesGerman, Polish, Russian, Yiddish and considered the re- 
vival of Hebrew both foolish and needless. 

Ben Yehuda was not dismayed. In 1887, he returned to Russia 
and went to Moscow to seek financial aid. While he was away, his 
wife taught his classes and published his newspaper. On Ben Ye- 
huda's return, he continued his labors, translating English, French, 
and German classics into Hebrew. 

The sudden death of Deborah was a great loss to him. Feeling the 
urgent need of a mother for his children and a helpmate in his en- 
deavors, he asked her sister, Pola, to come to Jerusalem and there 
he married her. She, too, knew not a word of Hebrew, but she 
possessed an alert, active mind and made such rapid progress in 
learning Hebrew that soon she was able to write articles for The 
Deer. Her husband gave her the Hebrew name Hemda. 

Ben Yehuda's energy seemed inexhaustible. Poverty, disease, 
violent opposition, a growing family even imprisonment by the 
Turks could not keep him from fighting almost single-handed, 
for his ideal. With the growth of the language, he saw the need 
for a dictionary. He planned a book of a thousand pages; but when, 
years later, the work was completed it ran to many volumes. Fortu- 
nately, his efforts were not in vain. By 1897, a new spirit had been 
infused into the intellectual life of the Jewish community in Pal- 
estine. Hebrew was becoming a living tongue. The various Euro- 
pean schools still maintained their English, French, and German 
backgrounds; but Hebrew was at least recognized as a language for 
study. 

The World Zionist Movement, initiated by Herzl, received Ben 
Yehuda's hearty endorsement; and he was elected a member of the 
First Congress at Basle in 1 897. Although he favored the purchase of 
land for colonization, his primary goal was always the establish- 
ment of Hebrew. To this he devoted himself, too, while in London 
and Paris. In the latter city, he used to work many hours a day 
in the Bibliothque Nationde. 

Nothing could hold him back. His domestic cares were heavy: 
in twenty years, he had fathered ten children and lost five of them. 



60 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Despite his increasingly bad state of health, he worked 17 to 18 
hours a day. Tirelessly, he read thousands of volumes in various 
languages. Over the years, he mastered English, French, German, 
Russian, Arabic, Coptic, Assyrian, Aramaic, and Ethiopian. He be- 
came one of the world's greatest lexicographers. 

Sometimes, he spent weeks searching for a new word. He had 
decided in favor of the Sephardic pronunciation, but there were 
troublesome questions of syntax and style. He sought to make He- 
brew a beautiful language, live, and vigorous. Arabic, a sister lan- 
guage, was a constant source of reference. At home, he accumu- 
lated mounds of filing cards and paper. 

Having found or created a word, he tried to introduce it in writ- 
ing and speech. He called his newspaper his "midwife." The gen- 
eral public, he found, was both capricious and conservative, for 
sometimes it readily accepted a new word, then again firmly 
resisted it. Humorous references were often made by the Palestin- 
ian Jews to "Ben Yehuda's word factory." 

Usually, he tried out a new word on his family. Sometimes, it 
spread; many times, it did not. He was unsuccessful, for example, in 
substituting badurah for agbanit, the commonly used word for 
"tomato." And only his children attended a midrashah; the neigh- 
bors' youngsters went to a gymnasiumthe same school. 

To interest others, Ben Yehuda founded an academy: Vaad Hal- 
ashon. This helped little; in fact, it created more dissension. 
Meanwhile, his mountains of papers and cabinets of cards grew 
apace; he had enough material for four volumes of the dictionary. 
Even his bankers were impressed and gave him a loan. 

During a visit to Berlin, where he had gone to consult specialists 
for his health, he was so deeply impressed by the schools that he 
sent his oldest son, Ben Zion, to that city. Soon the young man 
became a correspondent for a Paris newspaper. 

Although his wife, Hemda, was overwhelmed with household 
duties she had recently given Ben Yehuda his eleventh child she 
was equally enthusiastic about her husband's philological labors 
and even journeyed to Berlin to arrange with the House of Lan- 
genscheidt for the publication of the dictionary. 

It was a momentous occasion for Ben Yehuda when work began 
on his magnum opus. He himself set the type, beginning signifi- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ZIONISM 61 

cantly with the first word av, "father." The scholarly detail of the 
work was exhaustive. The word chi, "because," occupied 24 pages 
and 335 ways of using lo, "no", were illustrated. Equivalents were 
given in French, German, and English; references were provided 
in Arabic, Assyrian, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. 

The arrival of the first printed volume stirred Ben Yehuda more 
than the arrival of any of his eleven children. The fourth volume, 
which like the first three had been printed in Berlin, was dedicated 
to the Jews of that city. 

The publication of the dictionary was a milestone in the revival 
of Hebrew. Although the language had been increasing in favor, 
it was not yet universally accepted in Palestine. When German was 
proposed as the language of instruction in the Technikum (Techni- 
cal Institute) at Haifa, a veritable war broke out all over the land. 
Teachers went on a strike, the German schools were closed, Ger- 
man schoolbooks were burned. Eventually, through the efforts of 
Henry Morgenthau, Sr., United States Ambassador to Turkey at 
the time, peace was restored. German schools were reopened, but 
Hebrew was retained as a school subject. Soon it became the sole 
language of instruction in the Technion as it is now called. 

In 1914, the fifth volume of the dictionary appeared, "dedicated 
to the Jews of London." In the same year, Ben Yehuda and his 
family went to New York to meet his prosperous brother, Jacob 
Seydel. He found that the Main Library at 42nd Street and the 
Congressional Library in Washington were treasure-houses for his 
research. 

By 1917 a national homeland of the Jews appeared to be emerg- 
ing. With the entry of the United States into World War I, events 
moved swiftly. On November 2, 1917, the Balfour Declaration was 
issued by Lloyd George's cabinet. On December llth General 
Edmond Allenby drove the Turks out of Jerusalem and then doff- 
ing his hat in reverence, led his troops through the Damascus Gate 
into the Holy City. 

Ben Yehuda continued his scholarly labors with unflagging zeal. 
On his silver wedding anniversary, he had a new manuscript ready 
and laid plans for eight volumes of Hebrew classics. In February 
1919, he returned to Jerusalem. 

Palestine was now a British mandate. High Commissioner Sam- 



62 THIS Is ISRAEL 

uel announced three official languages: English, Arabic, and He- 
brew. Ben Yehuda may have seemed fanatical in his devotion to He- 
brew, but had always been more than broadminded in other re- 
spects, especially in his friendship for the Arabs with whom he 
hoped a reconciliation might be possible. 

He was spared the bloodletting, the strife, and bitterness which 
came later, for in 1922 he died. He was working on the word ne- 
fesh, "soul", when his ardent spirit departed from his weakened, 
pain- wracked body. 

Ben Yehuda left enough material for eleven posthumous books. 
Family, friends, and associates completed the other volumes. By 
1951, thirteen volumes of 600 pages each had been printed. 

Hebrew is today the language of Israel. A rich literature of 
poetry and prose has developed; countless newspapers, magazines, 
and reviews are published. Its scientific vocabulary has been so ex- 
panded and developed that all the latest achievements of technol- 
ogy can be expressed in it. Hebrew is studied throughout tht* 
world. In New York City, over 5,000 pupils in the public high 
schools are enrolled in Hebrew classes. 

The tongue of Abraham and Isaac, of Moses and Aaron, now re- 
covered, has been enriched, enlarged and beautified. That this is so 
is largely the achievement of one tireless, dauntless, and zealous 
scholar Eliezer Ben Yehuda. 



IV 

The Struggle for the Homeland 



1. Foreign Interests in Palestine 

THROUGHOUT the nineteenth century, Palestine had been 
subject to various influences from abroad, all of which helped 
shape the destinies of the local population. The government was 
Turkish; schools, missions, churches, and hostels were Christian 
enterprises; the settling and building up of the land was a Jewish 
endeavor. 

Although the 400-year Turkish suzerainty may be accurately 
described as one of misrule, occasional reforms were undertaken. 
Abdul Hamid, who had ascended the throne in 1876, insisted on an 
honest and efficient administration and had shown special concern 
for the fair treatment of the Christian minorities lest some Euro- 
pean government intervene. 

For a long time, foreign powers manifested a deep interest in 
Palestine. The French, whose relations with the Holy Land went 
back to the days of Godfrey de Bouillon, continually sought to 
extend their influence. Besides France, other powers Austria, 
Spain, Italy, and Germany aided various Catholic orders in the 
country. Originally, only the Franciscans had been the representa- 
tives of the Latins in Palestine. After the Crimean War, however, 
several other groups built convents, seminaries, and schools. Jesuits 
established a Bible Institute in Jerusalem and founded the Univer- 
sity of St. Joseph in Beirut. Dominicans built a convent in Jerusa- 
lem. By the end of the century, the Catholic Church had thirty 



64 THIS Is ISRAEL 

orders, twenty convents, eighteen hospices, six higher schools, 
forty-six schools, and five hospitals. The Catholic institutions re- 
ceived their support in large measure from various governments. 

The Protestant churches, on the other hand, had to depend on 
voluntary contributions. The outstanding Protestant institution 
was the American College, now University, in Beirut, established 
a year before the Jesuits' St. Joseph University. Emperor William 
II donated the beautiful Catholic Dormition Church, a less pre- 
tentious Lutheran church, and the fine Hospice of Augusta Vic- 
toria in memory of his wife. 

Unfortunately, bitter rivalry for privilege ensued among the 
various church groups. Christian bodies outbid each other to se- 
cure rights to Holy Places and adamantly opposed any expansion 
of the influence of their rivals. The Anglican Church, whose bishop 
at first represented also the State Church of Prussia, caused a di- 
lemma by zealously promoting closer relations with the Orthodox 
and other Eastern Patriarchates. 

The Russians established their center at Jerusalem, erecting a 
vast compound overlooking the walls. They extended their au- 
thority over other sites visited by their pilgrims and bought up 
large tracts of land throughout the country. In an effort to expand 
the influence of the Moscow patriarchate, they fell into conflict 
with the Greek faction in the Orthodox Church; the latter's power- 
ful Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre regarded itself as an out- 
post of Greek culture. From 1872, the struggle continued with a 
succession of embarrassing expulsions of patriarchs, excommuni- 
cations, seizures of property, and, finally, intervention by the 
Turkish authorities. 

The ceaseless rivalry of the religious organizations brought 
about a curious development, for small Palestine soon possessed 
more churches, hospices, schools, hospitals, and asylums than any 
other country in the Middle East. These many institutions were 
the achievement of a small Christian minority among the popula- 
tion. 

Toward all this activity the Moslems were indifferent. The 
Turkish government did practically nothing to improve health, 
educational, and social conditions, for its major interest was the 
collection of taxes. Life among the Moslems remained as it had 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 65 

for a thousand years: wealthier Arabs lived in comfort in the towns, 
the bedouin continued to roam the desert, and wretched fellahin 
toiled in the sun-baked fields to eke out a miserable existence. 

The institutions promoted by the foreign groups caused the 
people as a whole to benefit from improved medical services and 
from the extension of educational opportunities. A marked in- 
crease in security was brought about by protection of European 
consulates. Local Christians were able to challenge the supremacy 
of Greek nationalism in the Jerusalem patriarchate. Shrines, once 
abandoned or destroyed, were now restored. 

An Arab renaissance stimulated a reaction against the attempt 
of the Young Turks between 1908 and 1914 to impose a Turkish 
education on the Moslem population; but the majority of the 
Mohammedan natives the peasants and the bedouins were little 
affected by these trends. 

A more active community life among the local Jewish popula- 
tion led to attempts to free themselves from the parasitical system 
of Halukkah. Under the impetus of Zionism and increasing inse- 
curity in Eastern Europe, a renewed wave of Jewish immigration 
took place. The population of the various holy cities Jerusalem, 
Safad, Tiberias, et al grew considerably. The land was now 
dotted with new settlements whose members made the land pro- 
ductive and who created a new social, political, and economic life 
in the country. 

2. The Outbreak of World War I 

With the outbreak of the World War in Europe in 1914, the 
Yishuv (Jewish Community) of Palestine seemed doomed. When 
Turkey hastened to support Germany, the future for the Jews 
indeed looked dark. Djemal Pasha, the Governor of Syria and 
Palestine, had the foremost Zionist leaders arrested. The young 
pioneers, David Ben-Gurion (later Prime Minister of Israel) and 
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (later to succeed Chaim Weizmann as President) 
were deported: they found haven in the United States. More 
than ten thousand Jews were expelled because they were not Turk- 
ish citizens. On January 21, 1915, a decree was issued that all 



66 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Zionist stamps, flags, and insignia were to be destroyed, and all 
Zionist organizations disbanded. 

The invasion of Palestine in the spring of 1916 by the Egyptian 
Expeditionary Force caused Djemal Pasha to intensify his persecu- 
tion of the Jews. Many were executed on the suspicion that they 
sided with the British. 

Actually, a considerable number of Jews outside of Palestine 
fought on the Allied side. Vladimir Jabotinsky, brilliant journalist 
and orator, aided by Ben-Gurion and Ben-Zvi, organized the Jew- 
ish Legion. This volunteer army became three battalions of the 
Royal Fusiliers; and units of the "Judeans," ^ they were called, 
took part in the final phase of the war at Es-Salt under General 
Allenby in September of 1918. 

Capt. Joseph Trumpeldor organized the Zion Mule Corps for 
the British Army in 1915. Consisting of 650 members, it partici- 
pated in the famous Gallipoli campaign. Trumpeldor met his death 
in 1920 while defending Tel-Hai in Upper Galilee against maraud- 
ing Arabs. 

The volunteers in the Jewish units were recruited in the United 
States and Canada, as well as in England. British Zionist leaders 
concentrated their efforts toward effecting the establishment of a 
Jewish state. Throughout the war such men as Menahem Ussish- 
kin, Yechiel Tchlenov, Nahum Sokolow, and Dr. Weizmann car- 
ried on negotiations with the British government. 

Finally, in February of 1917, the Foreign Office expressed its 
readiness to accept the aims of the Zionists, provided the Allies 
gave their consent. Thereupon, Dr. Sokolow, "the diplomat" of 
the movement, was sent to secure the approval of the French and 
Italian governments and of the Pope. The French were reluctant 
to give consent; but the government in Rome and the Vatican 
gave their blessing. Pope Benedict XV said: "Jews and Catholics 
would be good neighbors in Palestine." 

Through the mediation of Louis D. Brandeis, Justice of the U.S. 
Supreme Court, Dr. Stephen S. Wise of the American Jewish Con- 
gress, and Professor Richard Gottheil of Columbia University, 
an expression of approval was also obtained from President Wood- 
row Wilson, although the United States had not yet entered the 
war. 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 67 

3. Rival Claims 

With the defeat of the Turks, the question arose among the 
victors as to the future of their empire. The emancipation of sup- 
pressed peoples from Turkish rule and the advancement of the 
Arabs was generally accepted. The Zionists assumed that Palestine 
would be ceded to them with possibly some minor opposition from 
natloaalist Arabs. The situation was not, however, so simple. In 
addition to the interests of the Moslem population, there were 
those of the British, the French, the Roman Catholic Church, the 
Orthodox Church, and the various Protestant denominations. The 
major factor, however, was the Arabs. 

Arab nationalists envisioned a united empire which would re- 
store the glories of the Caliphate. They failed to realize that Arab 
cultural ascendancy was a thing of the past; that there was now a 
complete absence of political unity, social tradition and economic 
cooperation among the various Moslem peoples; and that they 
laded both political experience and political acumen to establish 
an enduring government. 

Christian interest in Palestine was non-political; it was centered 
in the Holy Places of which France, the Vatican, and Russia were 
the g-uardians. This concern expressed itself not so much in a 
desire for control but rather in an attitude of opposition to any 
po^wer or influence which might interfere with maintenance of 
the shrines, churches, and schools. 

The French were interested mainly in Syria. Their tradition 
went back to the Crusaders who had led the movement to recover 
the Holy Sepulchre. French language and culture played an im- 
portant role in the Middle East. In view of British control of Egypt, 
France, an imperial power, wanted to rule Lebanon, Syria, and 
Palestine. 

Britain, nurturing her relations to India and cherishing her oil 
interests on the Persian Gulf, desired a good naval base along the 
Mediterranean coast, possibly at Haifa. 

In addition to the frankly imperialist designs of Britain and 
France, there was another factor: the new concept of a European 
trusteeship of oppressed peoples. Guidance was to be given the 



68 THIS Is ISRAEL 

inexperienced leaders of new nationalisms lest their newly- 
founded nations be still-born. 

The large contingents of British troops in the Middle East and 
growing English influence there made it inevitable that the British 
were primarily confronted by the problem of Arab nationalism. 
In order to use the full force of Islam, Turkey and Germany had 
hoped to have the struggle declared a jihad (holy war). When 
this was proposed to Hussein, sherif of Mecca, he sent his son, 
Feisal, to explore the possibilities. 

This move resulted in an interesting correspondence with Sir 
Arthur Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, 
between July 1915 and March 1916. Arab claims were presented 
and cooperation with the British was outlined. When the Arabs 
laid claim to one million square miles, which comprised the Arabic- 
speaking world of Asia, McMahon attempted to exclude certain 
regions which were not entirely Arabic. According to later state- 
ments, particularly an historic letter to the London Times of July 
23, 1937, McMahon said he intended to exclude Palestine. Un- 
fortunately, that crucial area had not been mentioned in the origi- 
nal documents; in fact, the wording was so vague that it led to 
varying interpretations and considerable controversy. 

The British tried also to provide for French claims in Syria and 
Lebanon. The Arabs agreed to waive further discussion of the 
matter until the end of the war; but the British felt they had to 
come to an understanding with their Allies and therefore entered 
into the Sykes-Picot Agreement with the French. This unhappy 
arrangement divided up the Arab world without the consultation 
and consent of the Arabsand gave the French, whom the Arabs 
disliked most, two choice areas: (a) Syria, to become an Arab 
kingdom under French protection; (b) Lebanon, to be a French 
possession. The British were to have Haifa as a naval base; and 
southern Palestine was to be under an international administration, 
after consultation with the sherif of Mecca and the Christian 
powers. 

This secret agreement leaked out in 1917, when the Bolsheviks 
revealed it to the Arabs. For the British, relying on Arab coopera- 
tion, the disclosure caused great difficulties. The Arabs were not 
bent on cooperation, as the British learned to their great cost, both 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 69 

politically and financially. Britain fed, armed, and paid mercenaries 
who were far more interested in their own liberation than in a 
victory for their Allies. 

4. The Zionist Stake in Palestine 

Since the war's beginning, discussions had been going on in 
London with Zionist leaders at the very time British officials in 
the Middle East were negotiating with the Arabs. The Zionist 
demand that all Palestine be recognized as a Jewish state seemed 
extreme to some Ministers in the British Cabinet. The Jews, they 
argued, were politically inexperienced: furthermore, there were 
non- Jewish interests in Palestine. As the war continued, however, 
and its outcome became more uncertain, the British government 
became eager to gain the support of world Jewry. The validity 
of the historic Jewish interest in Palestine was therefore recognized 
and the extension of the settlement of the country considered le- 
gitimate. 

On November 2, 1917, a most significant statement, the famous 
Balfour Declaration, was issued. This brief but momentous docu- 
ment consisted of a letter written to Lord Lionel Walter Roth- 
schild by Arthur James Balfour, British Foreign Secretary. The 
"declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations," which 
had been approved by the Cabinet, stated: 

His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment 
in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will 
use their best endeavours to facilitate die achievement of this 
object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done 
which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing 
non- Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political 
status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. 

Publication of this letter evoked enthusiasm and joy among 
Jews throughout the world. Balfour became a modern Cyrus. 
Among the Arabs it provoked some outbursts of bitterness and re- 
sentment. Although the document was a general and somewhat 
ambiguous statement, it did recognize the existence of a historic 
Jewish right in Palestine. It did not, as opponents asserted, "take 
the land away from the Arabs," for the British had already dis- 



70 THIS Is ISRAEL 

counted the Arab claim to exclusive ownership of that country; 
furthermore, Arab hegemony was established in a half dozen 
other lands totaling more than one hundred times the area of Pales- 
tine. 

Only the extremely nationalist Arab faction, however, was 
aroused. When the contents of the document were communicated 
to Hussein, King of the Hedjaz, that monarch agreed warmly 
and said he welcomed Jews to all Arab lands. Even as late as 1931, 
his attitude toward Zionism remained friendly. 

Realizing that Arab feelings must be considered, Dr. Chaim 
Weizmann, head of the Zionist Commission, conferred in Palestine, 
in April 1918, with Emir Feisal, Hussein's son and heir. They 
signed a treaty of friendship on January 3, 1919. In it the Emir 
expressed friendly interest in the establishment of a homeland for 
the Jews and approved plans for large-scale immigration and set- 
tlement in Palestine, provided the Arab population was not ad- 
versely affected. 

Events appeared to be proceeding smoothly when the Zionist 
representatives at the Peace Conference received a rude jolt. They 
were shocked to learn that, as early as 1915, Britain's High Com- 
missioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, had come to a secret 
understanding with the Grand Sherif of Mecca. Although Palestine 
was not mentioned in the agreement, the Arab delegates at the 
Peace Conference insisted that it had been included. The Arabs 
were likewise, as we noted in section 3, incensed by the Sykes-Picot 
Agreement with France. Hussein's request for an explanation 
elicited a diplomatic reply from the British agent at Jedda who re- 
iterated promises of Arab liberation. Wilson's Fourteen Points, 
published in January of 1918, also assured the nationalities under 
Turkish rule of their opportunity for autonomous development. 
Despite such assurances, the Arab nationalists were aroused. To 
assuage their fears a number of pronouncements were issued. On 
November 7, 1918, a joint Anglo-French Declaration of reassur- 
ance to the Arabs was issued by the Military Command and widely 
publicized in Syria. Although its idealistic language recognized the 
claims of the Moslem majorities, responsible Arab leaders re- 
mained suspicious. 

Chiefly they feared that the Balf our Declaration might lead to a 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 71 

Jewish majority in Palestine; and they were further incensed by 
Winston Churchill's statement that, in that event, the "Jews would 
take over." Feisal, who had been conciliatory to the Jews, found 
himself no longer recognized as spokesman of the extremists. 
While he was concluding his historic agreement with Dr. Weiz- 
mann, a group of Arab notables in Jerusalem completely rejected 
the idea of the establishment of a Jewish national home and the 
separation of Palestine from Syria. In December, 1920, the Third 
Palestine Arab Congress, consisting of Moslems and Christians, 
rejected Jewish claims to a place in the country. This rejection 
was not only unfortunate; it was also quite unsound, for it rested 
on the false assumption that Palestine was exclusively an Arab 
country. The Arab claim to Palestine was further weakened by 
the fact that not their efforts but largely British efforts had liberated 
its population from the Turks. 

The Anglo-French Declaration had announced the intention "to 
secure impartial and equal justice for all" that is, to give recogni- 
tion to Arab as well as to Christian and Jewish claims. This gener- 
ous attitude was based on the hope that the parties concerned 
would come to an amicable understanding. 

5. The British Administration^ 1918-1930 

Even had there been no Zionist movement to channel the cen- 
turies-old desire of the Jews for the recovery of Palestine, Christian 
religious interests in the Holy Land would have necessitated a spe- 
cial political arrangement for the area. Countless churches, con- 
vents, monasteries, and hostels built in past centuries lay in ruins 
because of Moslem hostility. 

Although, at most, the Christians wanted merely the right to 
maintain their sacred sites under any regime, the Jewish claim to 
immigration and settlement inevitably aroused Arab fears. Chris- 
tians in Palestine were little concerned in the restoration of a 
Jewish commonwealth and they failed to establish any new rela- 
tionship to Islam. Their indifference served to sharpen the con- 
trast brought about by the growing Jewish settlement in the land, 
which seemed a very real threat to the local Arab population. 
There were those British officials, as well as Zionists, who thought 
that, in time, all differences would be amicably solved. Even those, 



72 THIS Is ISRAEL 

however, who hoped for a cooperative endeavor by Jews and 
Arabs and the eventual emergence of a new community, could 
not foresee that Palestine shortly would become a haven of refuge 
for tens of thousands of Jews fleeing from persecution in Europe. 

On the whole, British officials in Jerusalem had no appreciation 
of the Zionist ideal. They were irked by the Jews' interpretation 
of the Balf our Declaration. To them, the Jews were merely another 
minority in the land; and that this minority possessed a different 
tradition and was on a higher level of civilization than the indige- 
nous population only complicated matters. 

That Jewish interests were to be especially safeguarded was 
evidenced in the spring of 1918 by the arrival of the Zionist Com- 
mission led by Dr. Weizmann. Acting with sanction of the British 
Government in its endeavors to implement the Balf our Declaration, 
the Commission began by repatriating the Jews who had fled to 
Egypt and by establishing the communal life of the Ylshuv (the 
Jewish community in Palestine). In July 1918, the first stones of 
the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus were laid. 

Meanwhile, the Peace Conference had come to a decision re- 
garding the various occupied territories. Palestine, like several 
other parts of the Arab world, was placed under a mandate. In 
San Remo, a British civil administration in Palestine was set up. 

Palestine was separated from Syria a great step forward to- 
ward the establishment of the Jewish National Home. As long as 
Palestine was part of an Arab territory of a million square miles 
and ten million inhabitants, the Jews would remain a minority. 
In the small area of Palestine, however, with only 650,000 Arabs, 
the possibility of an ultimate Jewish majority was obvious. This 
made the Arabs apprehensive; and the fact that the first British 
High Commissioner in Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, was a Jew, 
did not allay their fears. 

Riots broke out in Jaffa, and the Palestine Arab Congress sent a 
delegation to London to protest. To reassure the Arabs, Winston 
Churchill, then Colonial Secretary, issued a White Paper which 
disparaged the idea "to create a wholly Jewish Palestine" and as- 
serted that the Balf our Declaration had envisaged not a conversion 
of all Palestine into a Jewish National Home, but the founding of 
such a home within Palestine. 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 73 

In other words, the British expected a society to develop in 
which both Jews and Arabs would live side by side. It would be a 
bi-national state. Possibly, later on, the Jews would be in the 
majority. 

The Jews accepted this statement; the Arabs rejected it. 

The text of the mandate, assigning Palestine to the British, was 
published in 1922 and went into effect in the autumn of 1923. This 
document showed a decided preference for Jewish claims. The 
Arabs were referred to as a minority, although they were not such 
at that time. The Balf our Declaration was quoted in full, but no 
allusion was made to promises given the Arabs. Terms were stated 
for the setting up of a Jewish Agency with wide powers. The 
only major concession to the Arabs was the exclusion of Trans- 
jordan from the area in which a National Home might develop. 

This latter restriction, however, was a profound disappointment 
to the Zionists. On the other hand, the Arabs saw themselves 
crowded out by the superior numbers and wealth of the Jews. 
The mandate was bound to intensify the feelings between the two 
groups. 

The administration itself was weakened by the fact that it took 
orders from London and from the Mandates Commission of the 
League of Nations. Its authority was reduced, too, because both 
the Jewish and Arab communities retained autonomy in a number 
of spheres. Education was their concern and their religious courts 
had considerable power in communal life. There was no central 
governmental authority to which loyalty was required. Indeed, 
the Jews looked to the World Zionist Organization for direction 
and not to British officialdom in Jerusalem. 

One of the greatest problems confronting British officials in 
Palestine was the restoration of land productivity. Despite constant 
soil erosion, ever-present poverty, the ravage of disease, and the 
depredation of raiding Bedouins, marked progress was apparent 
during the first decade of the Mandate. 

6. Immigration and Settlement 

Quite clearly, the term "national home" had been made am- 
biguous with deliberate intent. It was a compromise between those 



74 THIS Is ISRAEL 

British Ministers who favored establishment of a Jewish State 
and those who opposed it. Even Churchill, asked for an interpreta- 
tion, had said that it meant "the further development of the exist- 
ing Jewish community." 

Despite the ambiguity- of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionists 
counted on its being sanctioned by the Allied Supreme Council. 
They were eager to proceed with large-scale immigration to Pales- 
tine and settlement of the land. A Zionist Commission headed by 
Dr. Weizmann was authorized to negotiate with the British Gov- 
ernment; in 1921, this Commission became the Zionist Executive. 

The war had reduced the Jewish population of Palestine from 
100,000 to 50,000. Thousands had left the country; others had suc- 
cumbed to disease and even famine. As soon as the war ended, a 
new wave of immigration came from Europe. Between 1918 and 
1925, some 60,000 immigrants entered Palestine. In the ten-year 
period, 1925 to 1935, more than 84,000 arrived. The influx caused 
a rapid growth in Palestine's urban population; within a short time 
Tel Aviv and Haifa became bustling cities. Shops were opened, 
factories were built, and new dwellings arose. 

The more significant activity was that of the chalutzim or pio- 
neers on the land. In the agricultural settlements the ideal of the 
"Lovers of Zion" was being realized. In the eighteen years after the 
announcement of the Balfour Declaration, i.e., 1917 to 1935, more 
than 100 new settlements had been set up throughout the country. 

The chalutzim were, for the most part, young, energetic men 
and women, who sought a redemption of the land through self- 
toil. They fell into various political and religious groups, ranging 
from socialists (belonging to Poale Ziori) to the orthodox Mizrachi 
adherents. Between were the middle-class General Zionists. 

As in every migratory movement, however, there were also 
those who came for economic reasons. Many entrepreneurs and 
shopkeepers, who had been driven out of Poland, began to arrive 
after 1924. Some built up new business enterprises; others engaged 
in land speculation, creating a boom in real estate. 

Fundamental, however, was the development of Palestine's agri- 
cultural resources. This return to the soil had been the age-old 
dream of thousands of Jews all over the world. Each year they had 
dropped their modest contributions in the blue collection boxes of 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 75 

the Jewish National Fund to help redeem Palestine by purchasing 
its land and reforesting its hillsides. 

The conquest of the soil attracted groups of idealistic young 
men and women who went to Palestine to colonize it by means 
of cooperative settlements. It was truly a conquest, for it meant 
making arable blighted areas that had been abandoned as unprofit- 
able. It meant a constant battle against malaria, drought, and crop 
failure. The settlements on the border were exposed to frequent 
attack by marauding bands of Bedouins; thus the settlement often 
became a military outpost. Beginning with the collective kvutzah 
or kibbutz, of which the first was established, as we have noted 
in 1909 at Dagania, by Aaron David Gordon, various types of 
agricultural colonies were founded, developing at length into the 
cooperative moshav. The land, to belong in perpetuity to the Jew- 
ish people and to be leased by the Jewish National Fund, was to 
be used, not abused. 

Through the energy and enterprise of the chalutzim not only 
was wasteland made productive, but products raised in ancient 
times were restored and new ones introduced. Most successful 
was the cultivation of citrus fruits in the central coastal plain. 
Before the outbreak of World War II, fifteen million cases of 
oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and tangerines were exported an- 
nually. Grapes, plums, apricots, bananas, dates, figs, and almonds 
were also raised. 

Fortunately, it was soon discovered that, contrary to general 
belief, Palestine possessed sufficient water resources for irrigation. 
In more recent years, careful hydrological and geological studies 
have strengthened the expectation that, within the foreseeable 
future, even the entire Negev desert (half of Israel's territory) 
will be turned into a fruitful area by irrigation. An underground 
water storage system is being planned with eight systems of irriga- 
tion canals; when completed, every part of the country will be 
supplied with sufficient water. 

The cultivation of the soil, the reforestation of the hills, the 
founding of innumerable settlements, and the introduction of new 
industries proved beneficial also to the Arabs of Palestine. Many 
found steady employment. Their standard of living was raised. 
Malaria stations run by Jewish doctors extended their services 



76 THIS Is ISRAEL 

to the Bedouins and Arab city dwellers. Jewish settlers became 
friendly with their Arab neighbors and learned their language. 

But Arab nationalists frowned on fraternization. The Mufti of 
Jerusalem (Moslem religious leader in Palestine), Haj Amin el- 
Husseini, inflamed Arab passions by asserting that the Jews planned 
to steal their land. He inspired campaigns of arson, bombing, and 
killing by nationalist terrorists. The British Mandatory Govern- 
ment, never too friendly to the Yishuv and anxious to placate the 
Arabs, did little either to prevent attacks or punish the offenders. 

It had been the expressed policy of such foremost Zionists as 
Dr. Weizmann and Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff , the labor leader of Pales- 
tine, to promote friendship with the Arabs. The Arab rank and 
file would undoubtedly have been won over with little difficulty, 
had it not been for the hostility of the privileged effendisihs 
land-owning class. The latter realized that the modern, progres- 
sive Jewish community threatened the ancient feudal system by 
which they held the fellahin (ignorant Arab peasants) in serf- 
dom. These wretched creatures, ravaged intermittently by hun- 
ger and disease and barely keeping body and soul together, dwelt in 
primitive mud-huts. Their effendis feared that contact with the 
Jews might well open their eyes to their plight. In fact, the cheap 
labor market was being undermined by the better wages paid by 
the Jews. To maintain their vested interests, the effendis ^ under the 
Mufti's leadership, determined to drive the Jews out of Palestine. 

The campaign of terrorism, which began in 1920, reached its 
height in 1929 when the entire country was convulsed by rioting 
and over a hundred Jews were killed. There had been a period of 
unemployment, and the Arab leaders did not hesitate to place the 
blame on the Jews. 

The incident which touched off the rioting was, however, a 
religious one. A demonstration by the Jews at the Wailing Wall 
provoked a counter demonstration by the Arabs. The news of the 
riot led to massacres of Jews throughout the land, especially in 
Safad and Hebron. 

When the agricultural settlements were attacked, the story was 
different; there the Arabs were met by staunch resistance. They 
found that the Jews could and would defend themselves. The 
British, taken somewhat by surprise, had great difficulty in coping 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 77 

with the situation and restored order only after much loss of life. 
London, aroused by the extent of the upheaval, appointed a com- 
mission under Sir Walter Shaw to investigate. 

The Shaw Commission found the fundamental cause of the dis- 
turbances to be Arab resentment against the establishment of the 
Jewish National Home. The Commission recommended that Jew- 
ish immigration and land purchase be restricted, and that British 
policy, with regard to the future of the country, be clarified. 

Another inquiry made by Sir John Hope Simpson linked Arab 
unemployment with Jewish immigration and asserted there was 
no spare land for further Jewish settlement until there had been a 
reform in Arab land holdings. 

Much to the chagrin of the Jews, the British Government ac- 
cepted the report and issued a White Paper decidedly unsympa- 
thetic to the Zionists. The greatest shock for the Zionists was the 
implication that the Jews were an immigrant minority who were 
not to interfere with the desires and needs of the majority. 

The White Paper brought about a crisis among the Zionists. Dr. 
Weizmann resigned from the presidency of the World Zionist 
Organization and many other prominent members also retired. 

Amazed by the emotion it had aroused, the British Government 
tried to smooth things over. Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald 
wrote Dr. Weizmann, assuring him that the White Paper did not 
signify the abandonment of the Balfour Declaration. This served 
to console the Jews somewhat, but it enraged the Arabs. 

The situation had worsened. Within the next few years, the 
Mandate became progressively weaker and more difficult to ad- 
minister. Finally, it broke down completely. 

7. Henrietta Szold 

Among the countless selfless men who helped lay the founda- 
tions of Israel, it is difficult to determine who made the greatest 
contribution. When one attempts to evaluate the services of the 
women who toiled to restore Zion, there is little difficulty: one 
alone overshadows all others. She is Henrietta Szold. Strangely 
enough, Miss Szold attained the zenith of her accomplishments 
during the latter half of her long life of 84 years. In fact, not until 



78 THIS Is ISRAEL 

she was fifty did she distinguish herself outside her home town of 
Baltimore; at sixty, she became an acknowledged leader in Ameri- 
can Zionism, and, at seventy, she was in the vanguard of those who 
were building up Palestine. 

Henrietta Szold, born December 21, 1860, in Baltimore, was the 
daughter of Rabbi Benjamin Szold who had come from Germany. 
Of Hungarian birth, Rabbi Szold and his wife were deeply at- 
tached to the German culture of the age of Goethe. On the writ- 
ings of that great poet and the words of the Hebrew prophets, 
Benjamin Szold built his philosophy. "Judaism is not only a faith 
or creed, but a way of fife," he used to say. "You cannot have 
Judaism in full flower unless you have a normal life in which you 
illustrate your Jewish principles." 

Benjamin Szold was that happy combination, an intellectual who 
was also a man of action. His passion for human rights impelled 
him at the age of 19 to fight on the barricades in Vienna during 
the Revolution of 1848 and to support emancipation of the slaves 
during later years in America. His interests were primarily schol- 
arly, however, and he was delighted when a call came from a 
congregation in Germany; but an older colleague asked him to go 
in his place to the United States to Baltimore, where a rabbi was 
needed. Szold was not eager to leave Europe and to venture into a 
strange land in the turbulent New World; but he made the sacrifice. 
In 1859, he arrived in Baltimore; and the next year, Henrietta, the 
first of eight daughters, was born. 

From her father, Henrietta inherited a brilliant mind and a noble 
heart; from her mother, a deep sense of personal responsibility 
and executive ability. It was her father who gave her a thorough 
grounding in Hebrew, the German classics, philosophy, history, 
and the Bible; it was her mother who taught her to cook, bake, 
sew, and embroider. Because of this training, she was a second 
mother in the large household and helped to bring up her seven 
younger sisters. 

The Szold family was a happy one; love predominated in a 
home modest in material things but rich in cultural treasures. 
The rabbi's limited means did not permit him to send Henrietta 
to college. Her formal education ended with her high school 
graduation. But from her earliest years, she engaged in activities 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 79 

which gave her excellent preparation for her later work. As her 
father's secretary, she learned to correspond and keep records. 
After graduation, she taught for fifteen years in a girls' private 
school. Her major subjects were English, French, German, algebra, 
and botany. Saturdays and Sundays, she conducted classes in Bible 
and Jewish history in her father's congregational school, and as 
Baltimore correspondent of the Ne<w York Jewish Messenger, she 
had an opportunity to write articles about Jewish life. 

Despite these many intellectual activities, Miss Szold took a deep 
interest in nature; botany was her one great hobby. Her child- 
hood and youth were happy, serene, and comfortable. 

Her peace of mind was shocked when one day, she accompanied 
her father to the port of Baltimore to welcome refugees from the 
Russian pogroms. So deep was the impression made on her by the 
tragic fate of the Jews that she determined to devote herself to a 
solution of the problem. Through contacts with the refugees, 
some of whom found a haven in her father's home, she became an 
ardent believer in Zionism. With a group of Russian refugees, she 
organized the first Zionist society in Baltimore in 1 893 . 

Noting the difficulty with which her new-found friends ad- 
justed themselves to Ainerican life, she made plans to help them. 
With remarkable foresight she organized evening classes in Eng- 
lish, American history, bookkeeping, and dressmaking. The modest 
student fees were insufficient to maintain the enterprise; she en- 
listed the aid of a Hebrew literary society and other public spirited 
groups. The institution that Henrietta Szold thus founded was one 
of the first evening schools for immigrants in the United States; 
later it was taken over by the City of Baltimore. 

Although entirely without pedagogic training, Henrietta Szold 
was an inspiring teacher. Again and again during her long life, 
she faced problems for which she had no formal training, yet 
solved them because of her superior native intelligence. 

She relinquished her school duties in 1893 to become editor of 
the Jewish Publication Society of America which she had already 
served for five years. Her duties involved editing, translating, 
indexing, and proof-reading. She was eminently fitted for this sort 
of work, for she possessed an admirable literary style, a command 
of Hebrew, French, and German, and an unusually broad general 



80 THIS Is ISRAEL 

knowledge. In addition, she possessed tireless industry and meticu- 
lous scholarliness. She was instrumental in translating and publish- 
ing many important works on Jewish history. It is strange that she 
never wrote a book of her own. 

When Rabbi Szold died in 1902, Henrietta, as his literary execu- 
trix, determined to edit his manuscripts for publication. To prepare 
herself for this task, she took courses at the Jewish Theological 
Seminary in New York, meanwhile maintaining all her other activi- 
ties. The modest walk-up flat on West 123rd Street in which she 
lived with her mother became a literary salon where professors 
and students gathered attracted by her charm, her learning, and 
her warm and inspiring interest in everything about her. 

However, her father's manuscripts were never published. 
Stirred by increasing fervor, she was drawn into such active par- 
ticipation in the Zionist movement that she had to give up her 
scholarly pursuits. At the request of Rabbi Judah L. Magnes, she 
undertook in 1907 to train a group of girls who were members of a 
Zionist study circle. 

Although Miss Szold had taught and written about Palestine, 
she had never been there. The opportunity to visit the Holy Land 
came in 1909 when her health broke under the strain of work and 
she decided to take a vacation. Friends predicted that her first 
contact with the wretched conditions in Palestine might cause her 
to give up her Zionism. Though shocked by what she found, the 
trip only strengthened her determination to remedy the situation. 
She said: "The result is that I am still a Zionist, that I think Zionism 
a more difficult aim to realize that I ever did before, and finally 
that I am more than ever convinced that if not Zionism, then noth- 
ingthen extinction for the Jew! " 

The immensity of the task made her exclaim: "If I were twenty 
years younger, I would feel that my field is here." She was only 
fifty then; at sixty, her real leadership in Zionism reached its pin- 
nacle. 

Upon her return to the United States, she plunged into active 
participation in the work; in 1910, she became the secretary of a 
committee to sponsor an agricultural station in Palestine, in addi- 
tion to her official duties as secretary of the Federation of Ameri- 
can Zionists. Although she continued to lecture, she sought im- 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 81 

patiently for opportunities to act. "Let us stop talking," she ex- 
claimed, "and do something!" 

The opportunity for her greatest contribution to Zionism had 
arrived. After months of planning, a meeting was called on Febru- 
ary 23, 1912 in the old Temple Emanu-El in New York. A new 
society was to be formed with a two-fold purpose: to establish a 
system of district visiting nurses in Palestine and to foster Zionist 
education in America. Henrietta Szold was elected president. The 
group called itself Hadassah after Esther in the Bible meaning 
"the healing daughter of my people"; this had also been the name 
of the study circle formed as a nucleus for the new organization. 
It began with less than forty members; today it has 300,000, and is 
the largest women's organization in Jewish life. 

In founding this society, Henrietta Szold demonstrated her re- 
markable qualities as leader and organizer. 

Again, it should be pointed out that despite her exacting duties 
in connection with Hadassah, Miss Szold continued to earn her 
own living. Not until 1916 was she relieved of this necessity by 
friends, some of whom, for fear of Miss Szold's frail health, coun- 
seled complete retirement from active work. At the age of 55, after 
twenty-three years of service, she resigned from the Jewish Pub- 
lication Society. 

For most women, this would have been the closing chapter of a 
lifetime career. But Henrietta still had nearly thirty years before 
her; she was to develop in the last third of her long life a resource- 
fulness and creative power which were the envy of many a 
younger person. 

In 1916, the World Zionist Organization appealed to American 
Zionists to send medical help to Palestine. Under Miss Szold's 
leadership, Hadassah undertook to organize an American Zionist 
Medical Unit for Palestine. 

Again and again, she was called upon to weld new groups into 
shape. She headed the educational department in the newly formed 
Zionist Organization of America. It was, however, the Zionist 
Medical Unit that engaged her major attention. In 1920, she was 
again in Palestine, travelling up and down the country and mak- 
ing a detailed study of health conditions. One of the most serious 
problems was the prevalence of malaria, which decimated the 



82 THIS Is ISRAEL 

pioneers. Miss Szold noted not only the deplorable sanitary facili- 
ties, but also the miserable economic plight of the population. 
Nor did the difficult Arab-Israeli relations escape her; and to that 
problem, she gave considerable careful thought over the next 
quarter century. 

The Medical Unit she had helped to organize rendered valiant 
service. In the absence of the director, Miss Szold directed the 
work in the hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and nurses training 
schools. These services developed so rapidly that the Temporary 
medical unit was converted into the permanent Hadassah Medical 
Organization of today. 

In 1923, Miss Szold returned to the United States. She planned 
to devote the rest of her life to Hadassah. However, the Zionist 
Congress of 1927 elected her the first woman to be so honored 
to the Palestine Zionist Executive. She was placed in charge of 
Health and Education. Again, at 67, she was faced by seemingly 
insuperable obstacles. The country was in the throes of an eco- 
nomic depression; a dole had to be paid to thousands of unemp- 
ployed workers; the director of the Hebrew school system had 
resigned in protest against a severe cut in the budget. The situation 
was complicated by the strife of Zionist factions with conflicting 
educational aims. Henrietta Szold was not discouraged and she 
achieved remarkable results despite tremendous odds. In one in- 
stance alone, for example, she singlehandedly saved the kinder- 
garten system by personally raising their budget. 

She was equally effective in the Health Department which had 
control over the sanitary inspection of rural settlements, the care 
of chronic invalids, the building of hospitals, and the examination 
of immigrants. A constant battle was fought against malaria, ty- 
phoid, and dysentery. Miss Szold helped to coordinate the activities 
and urged the government to enact a compulsory health insurance 
law. 

In 1929, she was elected to the Executive of the newly formed 
Jewish Agency for Palestine, but resigned some months later 
and returned to the United States. Fatigue had apparently over- 
come her, for now she was approaching the Biblical three score 
and ten. It seemed as if, at long last, she was to enjoy the peace 
and quiet of a serene old age. But, in 193 1, the call came to organize 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 83 

the health and education services which were to be transferred 
from the Jewish Agency to the newly-formed Knesset Israel. She 
accepted. To friends and family, she said, "I go back." 

Not only did she carry out her assignment with skill and effi- 
ciency, but she entered an entirely new field with "temerity," as 
she expressed it. That was the establishment of a central bureau 
of social work. This entailed not only centralizing many welfare 
agencies a difficult task in itself but also convincing the people 
as a whole that modern social service was a remedy for social 
maladjustment, 'no less important than industry and colonization. 

With the aid of many volunteers, she built up a system of social 
service bureaus and corrective institutions. She tackled the prob- 
lem of juvenile delinquency. Through her initiative the first social 
workers school was established in Jerusalem. With remarkable 
fortitude she traveled up and down the land; neither the hot winds 
of the summer nor the cold rains of the winter deterred her. Even 
the "disturbances" the armed attacks by Arabs on the Jewish 
settlements that convulsed the land from 1936-1939 failed to 
deter her. Courageously, she set forth on perilous missions in un- 
escorted vehicles. 

As she grew older, it seemed, if possible, that her responsibilities 
and her contributions to Zionism increased. She was still organiz- 
ing social services when her supreme contribution was made in 
the founding of Youth Ally ah (Migration). 

When, in 1933, throngs of refugees from Germany arrived, Miss 
Szold made life possible for destitute immigrants by undertaking 
a drive for them in Palestine. After attending a conference in 
London to discuss ways to meet the situation created by the Nazis, 
she went to Berlin "in the interest of the children." She helped 
plan the transfer of adolescents to Palestine. Two months later, 
she was again in Jerusalem, providing for the German children 
and, at the same time, continuing her social service enterprises. 
She was then 74, vigorous as ever, but aware that her heart was 
beginning to ail. 

The task of transplanting thousands of German youth was a 
herculean one. It involved far-reaching administrative, political, 
social, and educational problems. Not only had these young people 
to be transported to a distant land, but they had to learn a new 



84 THIS Is ISRAEL 

language and be introduced to the spiritual and cultural heritage 
of Jewish life, a domain of mind and spirit to which many were 
strangers. Miss Szold, heading the Youth Aliyah Bureau in Jerusa- 
lem, quickly prepared a practical, efficient program. It provided 
for a two-year work-study apprenticeship in an agricultural settle- 
ment. Studies comprised Hebrew, Jewish history, and literature; 
practical training included all types of farm activities. The success 
of the plan can be seen from the fact that of the 13,000 adolescents 
transferred to Palestine in 1945, 10,000 were graduated from Youth 
Aliyah and, of these, 7,000 are engaged in agriculture and industry. 

Miss Szold maintained a close personal relationship with thou- 
sands of her wards. She welcomed many on arrival in Haifa and, 
accompanying them to the settlements, saw they were properly ' 
cared for. 

In her last years, Miss Szold devoted herself almost exclusively 
to the plight of the child in Palestine. On December 21, 1941, her 
eighty-first birthday, she set up a Children's Foundation (Lemaan 
Hayeled ve-Hanoar) and turned over to it sums of money she 
had received as birthday gifts at various times from Hadassah and 
the Palestinian community. This system of communal guardian- 
ship for the children was named for her after her death. For her 
the children's fund was as important as the Jewish National Fund. 

The motive power that animated all of her efforts was the belief 
in the perfectability of mankind. Like all who devote themselves 
so devotedly to a great cause, she denied herself not only physical 
comforts in her old age, but also desires that lay close to her heart. 
One of these that was never to come to fruition was to return to her 
beloved family in the United States. 

Henrietta Szold was one of those magnetic personalities to whom 
thousands are drawn and whom no one leaves without going away 
stimulated and enriched. Her seventieth, seventy-fifth, and eighti- 
eth birthdays were widely celebrated in Palestine and in America. 
They were virtually public holidays in Palestine, particularly for 
the children. With the genuine modesty of great souls, she fled 
from public honors. In fact, when national Jewish institutions in 
Jerusalem insisted on a public reception, she consented on the 
condition that the three speakers confine themselves to reviewing, 
not her life, but the development of the last eighty years in Zionism. 



THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HOMELAND 85 

When eulogies from all over the world were heaped on her, she 
confessed that she was more conscious of the things she had failed 
to do than those she had done. 

Her amazing achievements were widely recognized. In 1940, 
the Women's Central Congress named her one of the world's 
hundred outstanding women of the century. 

Her death in Jerusalem on February 13, 1945 evoked tributes 
from every corner of the earth, for Henrietta Szold, one of the 
noblest women of modern times, was a blessing to hundreds of 
thousands. 



V 

Zionism Victorious 



1 . Conflicts with Arabs and English 

RECOGNIZING that the British government would not provide 
adequate protection against Arab attack, the Yishuv planned its 
own defense. It could recall that following the 1929 riots, the 
League of Nations issued a sharp reprimand to the British for their 
inept handling of the situation. The Yishuv shortly therefore built 
up a people's militia a defense force the Haganah -which by 
1936, included 25,000 men. 

A system of outposts consisting of tower and stockade settle- 
ments along the frontiers was rapidly established. The sections 
were constructed beforehand and then loaded into trucks which 
proceeded to the site selected. There, Haganah members stood 
guard, the little fort was swiftly erected. By nightfall, it was fin- 
ished; and from the top of the tower, a search-light sent its beams 
injo the darkness. 

Arab hostility increased during the 1930's when immigration 
of German refugees added 60,000 to the Jewish population of 
200,000. Since the new arrivals included many doctors, technicians, 
scientists and scholars, the cultural life of the Yishuv was immeas- 
urably enriched. At the same time, some twenty new agricultural 
communities were also established. While this influx of highly 
trained Europeans hastened the development of the Jewish Na- 




Israel Office of Information" 



Nazareth residents go to the polls 



ZIONISM VICTORIOUS 87 

tional Home, it aroused reactionary factions among the Arabs, 
especially among those who had, it was reliably reported, re- 
ceived money from the Nazi and Fascist governments to under- 
mipje and ultimately destroy the Yishuv. 

What the Jews feared came to pass. A campaign of Arab ter- 
rorism began in 1936 and continued until 1939, obviously under 
the direction of the Mufti, Haj Amin el-Husseini, and the Arab 
Higher Committee.,/-' 

Unable to check* this, the British appointed the Peel Commission 
to look into the situation. In July 1937, that body declared the 
Mandate unworkable. It recommended the partition of the country 
between the Arabs and the Jews. The latter were to have the 
coastal plain, the Emek and Galilee. All Holy Places were to be 
under British protection. 

The announcement of this plan led to increased Arab terrorism. 
Angered by the open display of defiance, the British ordered the 
Mufti arrested and the Arab Higher Committee outlawed. The 
Mufti escaped to Lebanon from where he continued to direct the 
terrorism in Palestine. The British took a major step: they placed 
Palestine under military law. 

In May 1939, London announced a compromise solution. It 
published a White Paper, according to which 15,000 Jewish im- 
migrants were to be admitted annually for five years and land 
purchased by Jews was drastically curbed. This was a severe blow 
to Zionism. Thousands of refugees fleeing the Hitler terror were 
prevented by the British from reaching the haven of Palestine. 
In the harbor of Haifa, 260 lost their lives 'when their ship, the 
Patria, exploded; and 768 were drowned in the Black Sea when 
their unseaworthy vessel, the Struma, not permitted to land, foun- 
dered and sank. 
/ 

2. The Fighters -for Freedom 

Vladimir Jabotinsky, an active Zionist, founded a separatist 
"New Zionist Organization" in Vienna in 1935. He also,formed 
the Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military OrganizationyTIis aims 
were direct and drastic: to expel the British from Palestine, to 
subdue the Arabs, to bring a million Jews into the Jewish homeland 
within a year, and to establish a Jewish state on both sides of the 



88 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Jordan. After the White Paper of 1939, his policy became one of 
"illegal immigration." Although Jabotinsky died in August 1940, 
the organization he founded continued, although older Zionists 
were repelled by the Irgun's extreme political aims and terrorist 
methods. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, comprising repre- 
sentatives from established Zionist groups, cautioned self re- 
straint and non-violence; but the White Paper of 1939 had aroused 
the Yishuv. There was considerable sympathy, albeit much of 
it mute and even inarticulate, for the direct methods of the Irgun. 

Even more violent than the Irgun was the Stern Group, a secret 
band under the leadership of the young poet, Abraham Stern. 
These extremists began terrorizing the British with assassination, 
bombing, and kidnapping. Their brutality shocked the Yishuv 
and alienated public sympathy. 

But the Jewish community gave enthusiastic support to the 
policy of illegal or "unauthorized" immigration. Thousands were 
smuggled in from ships anchored off the coast. Members of the 
Haganah often risked their lives to bring new arrivals ashore. By 
1947, over 113,000 "illegal" immigrants had entered Palestine. 

The British authorities did all in their power to halt the influx. 
The legal quota of 15,000 was suspended; the Jewish Agency was 
rebuked for its "lawless" conduct and community after commu- 
nity, suspected of harboring "illegals," was fined. Coast patrols 
were increased and man-hunts for illegal entrants were carried on 
relentlessly, entire towns being placed under martial law and 
citizens imprisoned in huge cages while individual searches went 
on. It was inevitable that as the bitterness increased, the Haganah 
at times collaborated with Irgun and Stern in guerrilla raids on 
British installations. 

The outbreak of World War II in 1939 had brought about a truce. 
The Irgun ceased its terrorist activities; and 30,000 Jewish volun- 
teers served with distinction in the British armed forces, notably 
with Wavell and Montgomery. 

*{&J1944, a jcpnewed Arab outburst of violence rent the country. 
The Irgun and the Sternists (who called themselves Fighters For 
Freedom) instigated a reign of counter-terror. British officials were 
kidnapped, some assassinated; police were attacked; banks were 
robbed to secure funds. The three-cornered fight of Arab terrorists, 



ZIONISM VICTORIOUS 89 

Jewish actionists, and British reached a climax when the Irgun 
blasted the British Mandatory offices in the King David Hotel in 
Jerusalem on July 22, 1946. Although a warning was telephoned to 
the British to evacuate the hotel, they disregarded it; and the en- 
suing explosioa-killed 80 British employees (40 were Jews) and 
wounded 70. 

In retaliation, Lieut.-General Sir Evelyn Barker issued an order 
forbidding British troops in Palestine from buying in Jewish shops. 
He added the sarcastic comment that the boycott would punish 
"the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any and where it 
would hurt them most; by striking at their pockets and showing 
contempt for them." 

This statement and action dismayed the Yishuv. The Jewish 
Agency immediately repudiated the terrorist activities of the Irgun 
and Sternists. Dr. Weizmann called on his people to cut out the 
"cancer in the body politic of Palestine Jewry." Both the Agency 
and the Haganah cooperated with the British in tracking down 
members of the two terrorist groups a move that stirred deep 
feelings among Jews in Palestine and abroad who were bitter 
about British anti-Zionist measures. 

3. Partition 

Law and order had almost ceased. Palestine was virtually para- 
lyzed. The British, vexed, distraught, bewildered, could neither 
disarm nor restrain the combatants. Finally, the British govern- 
ment announced to the United Nations that it had found the 
Mandatory System to be unworkable. A United Nations Special 
Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was appointed and then as- 
sayed the battling problem anew; in the fall of 1947 it offered a 
majority report calling for the partition of Palestine^The General 
Assembly agreed on a partition plan for separate Jewish and Arab 
states, with Jerusalem to be an international city. Since the UN 
plan assured them a legal state, the Jews accepted the UN resolu- 
tion despite its territorial limitations. The Arabs, however, re- 
jected partition and unleashed a storm of new violence throughout 
the land. ' 

In accordance with the announced policy, British troops were 
quickly removed from Palestine. On May 14, 1948, Lieut-General 



90 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Sir Allen Cunningham, British High Commissioner, boarded a 
British naval vessel at Haifa and relinquished the Empire's rule in 
the Holy Land. 
The British Mandate of twenty-six troublesome years was ended. 

4. Israel Reborn 

On the day General Cunningham departed, a new era began. In 
the Tel Aviv Museum, members of the National Council of Jew- 
ish Palestine listened to David Ben-Gurion read a Declaration of 
Independence and the first sovereign Jewish state in 2,000 
years was established. It was to be known as Medinath Israel. 
Almost at once the United States granted de -facto recognition 
and the Soviet Union accorded it both de -facto and de fare recogni- 
tion. A provisional council of state was elected. Dr. Chaim Weiz- 
mann was elected the first president; and David Ben-Gurion, the 
first prime minister. 

. The new state was born in the midst of unrest and turbulence. 
As soon as the partition plan had been announced on Nov. 29, 1947, 
violence had ensued. Arab bands and Jews had clashed, although 
the Haganah had practiced havlagala, i.e. self-restraint. 

A Palestine Commission had been sent by the United Nations 
to take over the administration of the country as soon as the Man- 
date terminated on May 14th. This Commission was to supervise 
the formation of the separate Arab and Jewish states; but the 
British authorities refused to cooperate and the Arabs continued 
their campaign of violent protest. 

5. Arab Versus Jew 

/* During these crucial months of the winter and spring of 1948, 
the situation grew increasingly critical. War was imminent. An- 
ticipating a sudden attack, the Haganah on March 9, 1948 issued a 
call for all able-bodied men between 17 and 45. 

The Arabs had already seized most of Old Jerusalem and laid 
siege to the New City. The Jews trapped in the Old City held out 
bravely, defended by Haganah and Irgun units. The road from 
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was mined by the Arabs. In order to help 
Jerusalem, armed convoys of trucks with food and supplies were 



ZIONISM VICTORIOUS 91 

dispatched to the beleaguered city. It was a perilous undertaking; 
all the roads of Palestine were patrolled. The British, helpless, 
told the Jews to stay home. 

However, the Jews were determined to open the Tel Aviv- 
Jerusalem road. On April 2nd, they finally succeeded by captur- 
ing Mount Castel, an important hill commanding the road. In 
northern Galilee, an army of Iraqi and Syrian volunteers was de- 
feated by two Haganah battalions. 

The Arab population of Palestine, apathetic and suppressed, 
and caught between the struggle, was filled with consternation. 
Their leaders urged them to fight the Jews, whom they accused 
of fanatic atrocities. A tragic incident seemed to lend truth to 
these accusations. On April 9, 1948, an unauthorized surprise 
attack was launched by the Irgun and Sternists on the Arab village 
of Deir Yassin. More than 250 men, women, and children were 
killed. The Arab radios broadcast horrible details of the "massacre." 
In vain did the Jewish Agency express "its horror and disgust 
at the barbarous manner in which this action was carried out." 

The consequences of this act were entirely unexpected. Instead 
of rousing the Arabs to retaliate, tens of thousands began pouring 
out of the villages in a panic flight. A miserable mass of humanity 
glutted all the highways. Most of them suffered untold hardships; 
a number perished along the way. Between 600,000 and 800,000 
Palestinians fled across the border "driven out" asserted the 
Arabs; "leaving of their own accord," said the Jews. 

6. War 

When the independence of Israel was announced on May 14, 
1948, the armies of seven Arab states, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, 
Trans- Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Egypt, invaded Palestine. 
The troops numbered about 35,000. 

The Haganah, which had been transformed into the Defense 
Axmy, mustered some 20,000 men and women. Since the Arab 
states were numerically superior and better equipped in the begin- 
tiing, they hoped for an easy victory. However, the patriotic fer- 
vor of the Israelis, the excellent training many had received in the 
Allied armies and the possession of modern technical skills gave 



92 THIS Is ISRAEL 

the Israel army a great advantage. Arms and ammunition were 
imported from abroad, chiefly from Czechoslovakia, and at exor- 
bitant cost. Within a few months, the Israeli Army had became 
an effective fighting force. 

The Arab invaders, badly led and lacking strong motivation, 
were easily repulsed. Only the British-trained Arab Legion of 
Trans- Jordan proved efficient. It made a determined effort to 
capture Jerusalem, and on May 18, 1948 besieged the Old City. 
Latrun, along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, was seized; Lydda 
airport and Ramleh were captured by the Arabs (recaptured later 
that summer by the Israelis) . Old Jerusalem was cut off completely. 
After ten days of bitter fighting, the Jewish defenders surrendered. 

The Israelis then built a new road to Jerusalem which they 
called "The Road of Courage"; they thus by-passed Latrun. Con- 
voys bearing food and medical supplies were sent to the New City 
to relieve the 90,000 Jews besieged there. On June 11, the siege of 
New Jerusalem was broken. 

7. Victory 

Count Folke Bernadotte, UN mediator, ordered a four weeks' 
truce. When the truce ended, fighting was resumed, but only 
sporadically. 

November 18, 1948, Israel accepted the UN Armistice Resolu- 
tion. However, the Egyptian Army continued attacking Jewish 
settlements in the southern Negev and dropping bombs on Tel 
Aviv. 

The Israeli Army was dispatched to the Negev. After ten days 
of fighting, it captured Beersheba, the strategic gateway to the 
Southern Desert. 

On January 7, 1949, the Supreme Council of the UN issued a 
cease-fire order to Israel and the Arab states. Seeing the uselessness 
of the struggle, King Abdullah of Jordan had decided the previous 
summer to withdraw; but the Arab League had insisted on con- 
tinuing the struggle. Realizing their ineffectiveness, the Arab 
states finally entered into true negotiations with Israel. 

Negotiators from the Egyptian and Israeli Armies met with Act- 
ing UN Mediator Ralph Bunche on the Island of Rhodes. Truce 



ZIONISM VICTORIOUS 93 

terms were agreed upon on February 22nd. Israel signed separate 
agreements with Lebanon on March 23rd; with Trans- Jordan, on 
April 3rd; and with Syria, on July 20th. 

The war was over. The State of Israel found itself with a much 
larger territory (8,050 square miles) than the Partition Plan had 
given it (6,200 square miles) and it insisted on retaining this in- 
crease won in bitter fighting from the invaders. 
* * Israel had finally triumphed over its enemies. Peace which it 
had sought so long peace, which it needed so badly for its 
development was at last more than a promise. 

8. Chaim Weizmmn 

Israel's first president was born November 27, 1874 in Motele, 
near Pinsk, Russia. After a traditional Jewish religious schooling, 
at the age of eleven he entered the gymnasium of Pinsk. During 
these formative years he heard and read a great deal about Zionist 
hopes and aspirations. Early in his life he developed a deep attach- 
ment to the Hebrew language and to Palestine. 

Having a scientific bent, he took up the study of chemistry. He 
began his work at the University of Darmstadt and transferred 
later to Berlin. Progress in his chosen field was rapid. At 22, he 
had already made a notable contribution to the knowledge of 
chemical dyes. He followed his instructor to the University of 
Freiburg, Switzerland, where he received his Doctor of Science 
degree in 1900. Then he accepted a position at the University of 
Geneva where, for four years, he lectured and engaged in research. 

There he met Vera Chatzman, a medical student, whom he 
married in 1906. Two sons, Benjamin and Michael, were the fruit 
of this union. Michael was killed in 1944 while on a flying patrol 
with the British Royal Air Force. 

Dr. Weizmann's interest in Zionism kept pace with his scientific 
progress. He became particularly interested in the colonization of 
Palestine. Twenty-three years old when Herd's "J ew ^h State" 
appeared, Weizmann had been greatly impressed with Herzl's argu- 
ments for an international organization to promote the establish- 
ment of the Homeland. He had toured Russia, urging Zionists 
there to elect delegates to the World Zionist Organization. He 



94 THIS Is ISRAEL 

himself was elected to that body. In 1901, he organized the Demo- 
cratic Zionist faction, a middle-of-the-road group. Whereas Herzl 
was interested primarily in diplomatic and political relations, Weiz- 
mann saw the need for training colonists, developing the economic 
resources of Palestine, and promoting Jewish culture. He was never 
an extremist, however, and recognized the value of both "politi- 
cals" and "practicals." 

In one instance only was he utterly uncompromising. That was 
in 1903 when the British Foreign Office suggested Uganda in 
Africa as a suitable territory for the Jewish homeland. Herzl 
was ready to accept the plan; Weizmann opposed it strenuously. 
The plan was decisively defeated. 

In connection with the promotion of Jewish culture, he proposed 
the creation of a Hebrew University. Such an institution of 
learning in Jerusalem was approved in 1913 and fulfilled in 1918 
shortly after the Balfour Declaration had been announced, when 
Weizmann himself laid the cornerstone for the first building on 
Mount Scopus, overlooking Jerusalem. 

In 1904, Weizmann had gone to England to lecture at the 
University of Manchester. There he experimented with the fer- 
mentation of starches. He succeeded in perfecting a method for 
the artificial production of acetone, a major ingredient of TNT. 
Weizmann's scientific attainments played a great part in the diplo- 
matic successes of the Zionist leaders, for his remarkable work 
during World War I enabled him to render an important service to 
Britain. The large-scale production of acetone, making possible the 
production of enormous quantities of TNT, contributed in no 
small measure to the Allied victory. When Lloyd George later 
asked him what recognition he desired, Weizmann declined on his 
own behalf and replied instead: "I would like you to do something 
for my people." With his unusual gifts of persuasion, tact, and 
charming personality, he pleaded the cause of Zionism. 

Among a group of influential Jews and non-Jews, he built up a 
strong public opinion in favor of the restoration of the Homeland. 
Although not a member of the World Zionist Organization at the 
time, he did receive its official support. The administration in Co- 
penhagen entrusted the promotion of Zionism in Allied countries 
to Weizmann, Nahum Sokolow and Yechiel Tchlenov. 



ZIONISM VICTORIOUS 95 

By 1916, Weizmann's researches in chemistry were so notable 
that Winston Churchill appointed him Director of the Admiralty 
Laboratories. The Zionist cause, too, was making progress. On 
November 2, 1917, the Balfour Declaration was issued. In April 
1918, Weizmann headed an officially authorized Zionist Commis- 
sion to Palestine, empowered to advise the military administration 
in all matters relating to the Jewish population. In 1919, he went 
to the Peace Conference in Paris to plead the Zionist cause. 

Chaim Weizmann had now become the indisputable leader of 
Zionism. In 1920, he was the president of the Executive of the 
World Zionist Organization; a year later he became president of 
that body, a position he held till 1931, and then again from 1936 
to 1946. He helped to establish the Jewish Agency for Palestine 
and organize the Palestine Foundation Fund. 

Throughout the difficult years of the Mandate, Weizmann main- 
tained his faith in Britain. Whereas Ben-Gurion became impatient 
and later embittered, Weizmann urged moderation. Through his 
cooperation with the British, he hoped to modify the severity of 
some of the measures initiated against the Yishi#u. He had also 
gained the confidence of his adherents; in 1947, he was the Jewish 
Agency's delegate to the UN special Committee on Palestine. In 
accordance with his policy of conciliation, he accepted the Parti- 
tion Plan. 

When the Jewish State was proclaimed, Weizmann, then in New 
York, was elected president. On February 17, 1949, he took the oath 
of office in Israel; on November 19, 1951, his second term began. 

Despite countless activities in behalf of Zionism, he continued 
his scientific endeavors. In 1939, when World War II broke out, he 
was working on the development of artificial rubber. He visited 
the United States to play a key role in the U.S. Government's syn- 
thetic rubber program. He promoted the expansion of the Sieff Re- 
search Institute in Rehovoth a splendid scientific institution that 
has since developed into the Weizmann Institute of Science. In his 
later years, he was plagued by ill health; but, even from his sick bed, 
he carried on his scientific researches and government duties. On 
Nov. 9, 1952, he died at his home in Rehovoth and was buried in the 
beautiful grounds attached to the Institute. 

The State of Israel is his lasting monument. 



96 THIS Is ISRAEL 

9. David Ben-Gurion 

The first president of Israel was an even-tempered scientist who 
avoided extremes; the first prime minister of the new state was 
an intransigent trade union leader who refused to yield an inch. 

David Gruen, later named Ben-Gurion, was born in Plonsk, 
Poland, in 1886. After completing his secondary education, he 
studied law at the University of Constantinople. A fellow student 
was King Abdullah. Interested from early youth in labor, Ben- 
Gurion became a journalist and trade union leader. With Toben- 
kin and Raskin, he founded a branch of Poale Zion in Poland in 
1903. 

Equally deep was his interest in the idea of Zion restored. In 
1906, he came to Palestine as a shomer or farmhand. A year later, 
he helped found the Poale Zion of Palestine and became its leader. 
He labored tirelessly for the spread of his ideas and served as one 
of the editors ofHaachdut from 1910 to 1915. Expelled from Pales- 
tine at the outbreak of the first World War, he went to the United 
States. There he was active in behalf of the American Jewish Con- 
gress and became one of the organizers of the Jewish Legion, in 
which he served from 1918-1920. Strangely enough, his first For- 
eign Minister, Moshe Shertok (later Sharett) served on the other 
side as a subaltern in the Turkish Army. 

During a two weeks' leave in London in 1917, Ben-Gurion had 
an opportunity to observe British life during the war. He was im- 
pressed by the quiet dignity and courage of the average English- 
man; but he was shocked by what he saw in the Jewish quarter of 
Whitechapel. He came to the conclusion that the Galuth (exile) 
had a deleterious effect on the character of the Jewish people. 

Much as he admired the British in England, he felt that they 
behaved differently in Palestine. Indeed, his early admiration later 
turned into implacable, often bitter opposition. Nevertheless, he 
appreciated the role that the British played in the Middle East 
and cooperated fully against the Axis and the Hitlerite terror 
against the Jews. Even when British authorities caused widespread 
suffering by keeping out Jewish refugees, Ben-Gurion kept the 
main objectives in mind: "We will fight the war as if there were 
no White Paper, and we will fight the White Paper as if there 



ZIONISM VICTORIOUS 97 

were no war." He continually hoped for a change on the part of 
the British government, especially when the socialists assumed 
power after the war. When it was apparent that under Labor there 
would be no change, and that Zionist claims were being rebuffed, 
Ben-Gurion spoke bitterly of English perfidy. 

From 1920 he continued his activities in London in behalf of 
Poale Zion. From 1933 on, he was a member of the executive com- 
mittee of the World Zionist Organization. In 1940, he became its 
chairman, serving at the same time as chairman of the Executive 
of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. 

Writing, speaking and organizing filled his busy public life, but 
he also had broad intellectual interests. At 45, he taught himself 
ancient Greek; and during the stormiest periods in Palestine, he 
read Greek classics, and as he was fond of observing, gained per- 
spective thereby. He had grown with the years: from a union 
leader he had developed into a national leader. He was deeply in- 
fluenced by Churchill, whom he admired, but he lacked the Eng- 
lish statesman's sense of humor. 

Although primarily a man of action, Ben-Gurion realized the 
importance of Zionism's cultural bases. One of his great contribu- 
tions was a volume entitled Eretz Yisraelzn historical, geographi- 
cal and economic treatise on Palestine. He also translated from 
German into Hebrew Werner Sombart's Socialism in the Nine- 
teenth Century. 

When the British retired from Palestine in April of 1948 and the 
Jews were asked to give up their outposts, Ben-Gurion refused. 
Absolutely no retreats, he ordered a policy which, in view of the 
overwhelming forces of the enemy, seemed suicidal. But, due in 
great measure to his indomitable will, the order was successfully 
carried out. The Palmach, a force of 2,000 men, led by the farmer's 
son, Yigal Alon, was able to defeat the far greater Arab forces. 

Ben-Gurion's day of triumph was May 14, 1948. On that Sab- 
bath eve, the 5th of lyar, 5708, the members of the National 
Council met in Tel Aviv. At four o'clock, Ben-Gurion stood up, 
dressed in a blue lounge suit. Flanked by twelve fellow-members 
of the new Jewish state, he read aloud the Declaration of Independ- 
ence of Israel. When the reading, which took seventeen minutes, 
was over, many in the assembly wept. They sang Hatikvah, the 



98 THIS Is ISRAEL 

hymn chosen by the First Zionist Congress as the national anthem. 
The ancient benediction was repeated: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord 
our God, ICing of the Universe, who has kept us in life and pre- 
served us and enabled us to reach this season." With profound emo- 
tion, the members of the Provisional Council affixed their signa- 
tures to the Proclamation. As everyone left the hall, Ben-Gurion 
remarked proudly to one of the observers: "You see, we did it!" 

Two days later, the Council elected Chaim Weizmann its presi- 
dent, and Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister. 

The effect of Israel's Proclamation of Independence on the 
Yishuv and on Jews throughout the world was electric. Harry 
Levin, living in beleaguered Jerusalem, wrote in his diary: 

"So the lamp snuffed out nearly 2,000 years ago was relighted 
today. A miracle as great as any that ever happened in this land. 
The war may be only starting. But we are our own masters in our 
own land" 

With courage, vigor, and intelligence, Ben-Gurion helped to 
pilot the new state through the political Scylla and Charybdis of 
the next five years. At the height of his career, to the great surprise 
of all, he resigned from his post at the age of 67 to retire to a pioneer 
settlement, Sdeh Boker, in the desolate Negev. There the former 
prime minister lives with his wife, Paula, in a mustard-colored, 
pre-fabricated house, and takes an active part in the community's 
daily life. Ben-Gurion retired, he explained, because: "I have been 
attracted by two interests which I have been unable to indulge 
because of the burden of public affairs: working on the land and 
reading books." 

An insight into the profound character of this unusual man is 
gained from his words: "This life as a simple citizen and laborer 
has its benefits not only for the person himself but perhaps also 
for his country. After all, there is room for hundreds, thousands 
and even millions. And the destiny of the state is in the hands of 
the many rather than of a single individual. There are times when 
the individual feels he should do those things which only can 
and should be done by the many." 

Soon, however, he tired of this lonely life and returned to Jerusa- 
lem to become Minister for Defense. 



VI 

Eretz Israel 



1. Geography 

ISRAEL is a small country. Shaped like an arrowhead the head 
being the triangular Negev its greatest length is 260 miles and 
its greatest width 70 miles. At one point, its eastern frontier is only- 
ten miles from the Mediterranean, which can be seen on a clear 
day from any of the higher mountains. With an area of some 8,050 
square miles, Israel is smaller than New Hampshire. 

An inspection of the map will show an irregular boundary on 
the north separating Israel from Lebanon and Syria, with a neck 
of land reaching up to Metulla and ancient Dan. Running south, 
the frontier includes all of the Sea of Galilee except the northeast- 
ern shore. 

Above the lake, the Jordan River is entirely within the state of 
Israel; south of it for some distance that stream separates it from 
the Kingdom of Jordan. 

The Israeli boundary then runs irregularly west and north 
around Samaria; turning south, it does not run east again until it 
reaches Latrun. Jerusalem is in the extreme corner of a peninsula 
which juts out from Israel, but which leaves most of Judea under 
Jordanian control. Only the lower half of the Dead Sea belongs 
to Israel. The tapering Negev is wedged in between Jordan and 
Egypt and comes almost to a point at the Gulf of Aqaba. 

Despite its small size, Israel contains within its narrow limits 
the varieties of topography of a continent. There are mountains, 



100 THIS Is ISRAEL 

plateaus and plains; verdant valleys and desolate deserts; an ex- 
tended coastline and three lakes; the pleasant breezes of the tem- 
perate zone on the heights and the oppressive heat of the tropics 
in the lowlands. Israel presents such extremes in altitude and depth 
as the hills of Galilee which rise to 4,000 feet and the Dead Sea, 
1,292 feet below sea-level the lowest spot on the face of the globe. 

There are, however, a number of distinct areas. Along the 
Mediterranean is the coastal plain. Further east are the mountains. 
Beyond them is the valley of the Jordan with its swift-flowing 
stream. The mountains are split by the Valley of Esdraelon or 
Emek Jezreel. The heights north of the Emek Jezreel are the 
mountains of Galilee; those to the south are the hills of Samaria 
and of Judea. The hills of Galilee, the foothills of Samaria, and 
part of the hills of Judea are in Israel; most of the latter's rugged 
area belongs to Jordan. 

The southern half of the country consists of the entirely bar- 
ren Negev, populated and settled centuries ago by the Nabateans 
and only now being gradually reclaimed. 

Israel possesses three lakes: Lake Huleh, the Sea of Galilee and 
the Dead Sea. Its most distinctive and historic waterway, however, 
is the River Jordan. Rising in the Syrian mountains, 3,100 feet 
above sea-level, it drops Jordan means "Descender" to within 
seven feet above sea-level, when it reaches Lake Huleh in Upper 
Galilee. It flows through the Lake and, eleven miles further on, 
it rushes down to the Sea of Galilee, 682 feet below sea-level. 
After flowing through the Sea of Galilee, the stream continues 
its course through a deep valley until it enters the Dead Sea. There 
it reaches the lowest spot on earth, 1,292 feet below sea-level. 

Lake Huleh, smallest of the three kkes, is set in an area of soft 
hills. It is only four miles long and three miles wide. On its shores 
grow papyrus reeds, favorite haunts of wild geese and ducks. 
Despite its gentle aspect, the region is treacherous, for there is a 
15,000 acre swamp which breeds malaria. A huge drainage project 
has been undertaken to provide arable land for 2,000 new farm 
units. Water for irrigation will be available, and the peat of the 
swamp will be used for fuel and fertilizer. Upper Galilee is quite 
fertile; more than 30 agricultural communities are to be found in 
that region. 



ERETZ ISRAEL 101 

The second lake through which the Jordan River flows is the 
Sea of Galilee. Locked in the embrace of stern and stony hills, it 
is a clear, blue expanse of water in the shape of a harp, which is 
the meaning of its Hebrew name, Kinneret. Thirteen miles long 
and eight miles wide at its broadest point, from ancient times it 
has been a favorite of the Jews; to Christians it is sacred as the 
scene of the ministry of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. 

In his time, its waters bordered a palm-shaded shore on which 
were situated busy and prosperous cities. Josephus calls it "an im- 
mense garden of incomparable fertility." The lake yielded tons 
of fish; the fertile land produced wheat, barley, olives, grapes, 
figs and pomegranates. The ten throbbing towns of the region 
were known as Decapolis. They boasted Roman amphitheaters, 
Greek temples and Jewish synagogues. Tiberias possessed a city- 
wall, a citadel, and a palace. Capernaum was the customs station 
through which passed the caravans from Damascus to Egypt. 

Today much of the area is barren. Of the ten cities, hardly a 
stone exists; Magdala is but a drab, poverty-ridden collection of 
Arab mud huts. Proud Capernaum, in which Jesus did much of 
his preaching, is reduced to broken stone. A group of Franciscan 
friars have pieced together the fragments of an old synagogue 
built in Roman style. In fact, one might take it for the ruins of a 
pagan temple were it not for the star of David, the ram's horn, and 
the sacred candelabrum which appeared as Hebrew decorations 
on some of the stones. It is believed by some authorities that 
Jesus taught in this synagogue. 

South of Capernaum is a hill which is thought to be the Mount of 
Beatitudes. Its barrenness is relieved by a lovely Italian hospice sur- 
rounded by trees. On the spot where the Feeding of the Five 
Thousand is reputed to have taken place there stands a German 
hospice with a lovely garden and excellent accommodations. 

On the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee lies the communal 
settlement of Ein Gev, heavily shelled during the Arab-Israeli 
War by Syrian troops from the hills further to the east. This fishing 
village has become for all of Israel a musical Mecca just as Dahlia 
is for folk dance festivals. The settlers conduct in the spirit of their 
friend and benefactor, the later Serge Koussevitzky, a Tangle- 
wood festival beneath a vast shed similar to that of the American 



102 THIS Is ISRAEL 

concert center at Lenox, Massachusetts. Koussevitzky, Christian 
friend of Israel, loved both Tanglewood and Ein Gev; each, one 
in the Berkshires of America and the other, "beside the Syrian 
sea," now the Sea of Galilee, brings to its pilgrims of music a 
peace that "passeth all understanding." 

One of the ten cities, however, remains and prospers. That is 
Tiberias, built by Herod Antipas in honor of the Emperor Tiber- 
ius. Jews considered it impure; but after the two national revolts 
had left Judea crushed and Jerusalem a pagan city, Tiberias be- 
came the refuge of Hebrew scholars. For three centuries, it was 
the center of Jewish cultural life. Great rabbinical academies flour- 
ished, and a large body of Jewish tradition was codified here. This 
work was begun by the brilliant Rabbi Meir Bal Ha-Nes; it was 
continued after his death by the Patriarch Yehuda. About the year 
220, the Mishnah was completed. Other rabbis of Tiberias con- 
tinued their studies; and, in 390, the so-called Palestinian Talmud 
was brought to completion. During the Arab period scholars 
worked out the vocalization of the Biblical text known as the maso- 
rah* Tiberias was considered a holy city. The remains of Rabbi 
Akiba were interred there in the second century; and, in 1204, 
the body of the great Maimonides was borne to Tiberias. 

When the Crusaders came in the twelfth century, they built a 
mighty wall of jet basalt around the city. For the Jews, their 
coming was a disaster. Many communities were destroyed, and 
holy Tiberias became a city of medieval gaiety. The Crusaders, 
however, enjoyed the fruits of their victory only 80 years. On 
an extremely hot day of July, 1187, Saladin's army inflicted a 
crushing defeat on the 2,000 knights and 8,000 foot soldiers who 
had gathered for battle a few miles east of Tiberias. The Saracens 
set fire to the bushes on the cobble-ridged hill known as the 
Horns of Hattin. Blinded by smoke, oppressed by the heat and 
suffering agony from thirst, the too heavily armored Crusaders 
could not withstand the onslaughts of the Moslems. The king and 
his entire army surrendered. It was the end of the Kingdom of 
Jerusalem. 

Tiberias became a Moslem city. In the sixteenth century, Sulei- 
man the Magnificent encouraged his Jewish adviser Joseph Hasi 
to attempt a revival of the ancient glories of Tiberias, but that 



ERETZ ISRAEL 103 

effort proved a failure. The holy city decayed almost completely. 
In the nineteenth century, only 600 Jews were left, living in a 
wretched town that became notorious for its filth and stench. 

After World War I, Tiberias experienced a renaissance. Settle- 
ments sprang up in the Jordan Valley, most notable of which are 
Dagania Aleph and Beth. The Yarmuk River furnished hydro- 
electric power. A shipping company organized boat trips, a luxury 
hotel Galei Kinneret (Waves of the Kinneret) was built on the 
lake side, and a beautiful suburb arose amid tall trees. The ancient 
hot mineral springs were restored, and Tiberias became a spa and 
summer resort. With pride, it points to the fact that it was the 
first town to liberate itself in 1948 and to raise the Jewish flag- 
even before the new state was born. 

2. The Dead Sea Comes to Life 

After leaving the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan flows south through 
Israel. For two-thirds of its length, however, it is in the Hashemite 
Kingdom of Jordan. More than 20 miles east of the Israeli border, 
it enters the Dead Sea. 

This strange body of water is located in the region where the 
ancient Israelites believed their God rained fire and brimstone on 
the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. 
Set among the austere mountains of Moab and the barren wastes 
of Judea, the steel gray surface of the lake reflects a spirit of weird- 
ness, loneliness, and ghastliness. No living creature can survive 
in its waters due to the extreme saline and mineral content. The 
Dead Sea is the lowest body of water in the earth's deepest depres- 
sion, for its surface is 1,292 feet below sea level and its maximum 
depth is 1300 feet. It is forty-seven miles long and ten miles wide. 
In the early 1940's, intrepid young Jews founded a settlement on 
its shores near the entry of the Jordan's terminal waters into the 
Dead Sea. They flushed the salt from the spoiled earth, running 
the Jordan's fresh waters through the saline soil 80 to 90 times 
until seeds could sprout and roots take hold. They called the place 
Beth Ha'arava-'Housz In the Desert." But, in 1948, the colonists 
had to leave their new homes and buildings, some fleeing by boat 
up the Jordan and others south down through the Dead Sea to 



104 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Israeli territory. Members of the Arab Legion of Jordan destroyed 
the houses, cut down the trees, and blew up the buildings and 
machinery of the Palestine Potash Corporation. Now the area, 
under Jordanian control, is once again a wasteland. 

Only the southern half of the Dead Sea belongs to Israel. To 
reach the lake, a road was cut through the towering cliffs of lime- 
stone and shale, descending from a height of 1,500 feet above sea 
level. The highway which skirts the shore to Ein Gedi, leads to in- 
calculable mineral wealth. In addition to vast deposits of salt, the 
lake contains great quantities of bromine, potassium, chloride, and 
the largest known concentration of magnesium chloride. There is 
enough potash fertilizer to supply the world for the next 3,000 
years. Careful surveys and soundings have led mining experts to 
believe that there may be oil deposits below the surface in similar 
quantity as in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. 

Realizing the importance of these mineral deposits for Israel's 
future, the government has undertaken various development proj- 
ects. Potash is now being extracted from the waters and salt is 
being dug from the mountain of Jebel Usdum. Seven oil companies 
have been granted concessions. 

Even more significant for the country's development are vary- 
ing water projects that have been planned. The most ambitious of 
these is the Lowdermilk Plan, evolved in 1939 by the distinguished 
American agronomist, Dr. Walter Clay Lowdermilk, which in- 
volves the diversion of the headwaters of the Jordan north of the 
Sea of Galilee and the transmission of the water by means of pipes 
to the Negev. Another ambitious plan of Dr. Lowdermilk's is to 
dig a canal from Haifa across the plain of Esdraelon to the Jordan. 
In view of the fact that it would drop almost 1200 feet, a billion 
kilowatt-hours of electric power could be generated annually. By 
means of this hydro-electric power, it would be easy to extract 
the magnesium chloride from the Dead Sea. From a hot, desolate 
region, the Dead Sea area would within a few years be transformed 
into a mighty industrial empire. In fact, all Israel would benefit 
immensely by these Dead Sea projects. The extensive extraction 
of metals and minerals would provide raw materials for manu- 
facturing. The hydro-electric plants could provide current and 
power for scores of communities. And the 200-mile system of 



ERETZ ISRAEL 105 

pipes and reservoirs from the headwaters of the Jordan would 
make it possible to irrigate the arid Negev and transform it into 
fruitful land. 

3 . The Negev: The Desert Is Made To Bloom 

In 1949, the Israeli army conquered the triangular southern por- 
tion of Palestine known as the Negev ("south"). At that time, it 
seemed one of the most desolate regions in the world with its bar- 
ren black and yellow mountains, its ivadis, absolutely dry in sum- 
mer and filled with rushing waters in winter, and its dreary plains. 
It may yet become the most valuable stretch of land in Israel. 

Relying on the statements in Deuteronomy that the promised 
land was one "whose stones are iron and out of whose hills thou 
mayest dig brass," geologists and chemists of the Hebrew Univer- 
sity and the Weizmann Institute of Science undertook investiga- 
tions. On the basis of their findings it has been predicted that 
Israel may be self-sufficient by 1958. 

The Negev is a huge triangular wedge lying between Egypt 
and Jordan and ending in an apex only eight miles wide on the 
Red Sea. In ancient times it was a busy and a prosperous area. 
Here were King Solomon's copper mines; along its roads came 
rich caravans from Baghdad and Damascus. The key city and 
capital of the area is Beersheba of which Genesis records: "And 
Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba and called there on the 
name of the Lord, the everlasting God." In 1948, only one Jew 
lived there, a physician. Now more than 25,000 Jews live in Beer- 
sheba which has become a bustling frontier town. 

It completely lacks, however, the color and dissoluteness of the 
American Wild West. Here are thousands of young pioneers come 
to create a homeland and not to amass a personal fortune. It is an 
organized movement. Youth makes its first contact with the desert 
in the semi-military camps of the Gadna; later they enter Nachal 
which combines military service and pioneering. In the Negev, 
there are about fifty settlements, half of which are collectives. 

Many of the people who have come to the Negev to reconquer 
the wasteland, have forsaken the easier life of the cities to dedicate 
themselves to an ideal. They find the larger towns of Israel crowded 
and corrupted by civilization; they seek the simple, less sophisti- 



106 THIS Is ISRAEL 

cated, less worldly life of the wilderness. This is what attracted 
Ben-Gurion to the desert: the simple life, the nearness of God 
and nature. 

South of Rehovoth begin rolling plains called the Darom, which 
also means "south." The Negev itself begins at Beersheba. The 
Darom is immigrant territory; hundreds of small cottages have 
been built here by the government. There one can meet South 
Americans who dance the rumba; Algerians who wear berets and 
speak French; Iranians with turbans. One of the most interesting 
settlements is "the village which has no name." Here are con- 
centrated over a hundred blind, who live in little pre-fabricated 
houses surrounded by pretty gardens. The Israelis once called it 
the Village of the Blind, but when Helen Keller visited it in 1952, 
she suggested they might more appropriately name it the Village 
of Light. 

Two hours distant from Tel Aviv, Beersheba rises out of the 
parched brown earth. On its main street, one can see taxis and 
private cars, trucks and cement mixers, bulldozers and tractors. 
Along the sidewalks hurry farmers, engineers, plumbers, masons, 
carpenters, and ditch-diggers. 

Its growth was phenomenally rapid. In 1948, it was populated 
only by Arabs of a low income and culture level. Only on the 
main street were there a few wretched shops; no running water 
or electricity existed. The mosque was the only impressive build- 
ing in town; the only green spot was the British Military Cemetery. 
Beersheba was a hot and dreary outpost. 

By 1949, things began to hum. There were new residential 
quarters and stores, banks, factories, and restaurants. Now every 
house has electricity and running water. Elaborate plans have been 
made for parks, playgrounds, and schools. Hadassah built a new 
hospital and named it after Dr. Chain Yassky, who with 78 other 
doctors and nurses had been killed by Arabs in the convoy going 
up to Mt. Scopus in April of 1948. Already there is considerable 
social life in the cool evenings, when the working populace sloughs 
off its cares of the day and relaxes over a glass of tea. As in most 
metropolitan areas in Israel, the people are a motley group, con- 
sisting of immigrants from every part of the globe. 

And then there are the Bedouins. They have been in the Negev 



EKETZ ISRAEL 107 

since time immemorial; they were here with their sheep, goats, 
camels, and horses when Abraham arrived. Today there are some 
18,000 roaming the desert and their black tents dot the yellow 
sand. They scorn the settled life of the Arab fellah whom they 
utterly despise. In view of their nomadic existence, their adher- 
ence to ancient tribal customs and their distaste for work, they 
constitute a serious problem for the Israeli government 

Medical services are supplied to the Bedouins not only through 
the Hadassah hospital in Beersheba but also by a field service 
which reaches the most inaccessible camps. Through an intensive 
program of education an attempt has been made to persuade the 
Bedouins to live in houses, to use tractors and modern implements. 
A few have moved into stone houses and are cultivating land, 
but they are not many. However, the march of progress will un- 
doubtedly force them very soon to give up their wandering and 
unsettled life, for before long the Negev will be plowed and 
planted and the desert wastes will have disappeared. 

This project is rapidly developing. Already the Darom presents 
a picture of prosperous farmland where grain, corn, watermelons, 
potatoes, and onions are grown. This fertile plain is the northern 
end of the Negev in which are laid most of a network of some 
186 miles of pipelines. A giant 66-inch pipe will be laid from the 
Yarkon River at Tel Aviv to the Negev, and another huge pipe- 
line is planned to carry water from the upper Jordan to the south- 
ern desert. 

Southeast of Beersheba the farmland turns into cattle country. 
Most of the Arabs have disappeared, and the plains are covered 
with perennial grass. 

As indicated above, this region was once one of the most pros- 
perous in the Middle East. In the Byzantine period the Nabateans 
dwelt here and built huge dams and extraordinary underground 
water storage systems. Professor Walter Clay Lowdermilk, a dis- 
tinguished authority on soil conservation, and Dr. Nelson Glueck, 
the eminent archaeologist, have expressed amazement at the irriga- 
tion projects of the ancients. Kurnub, once a beautiful and prosper- 
ous city, will again become the center of activity, for it is here 
that the road divides, one branch going to the Dead Sea and the 
other to the Gulf of Aqaba. From the potash works at Sodom will 



108 THIS Is ISRAEL 

come vast quantities of chemicals; from the hills will come mica, 
gypsum, probably copper, and perhaps even oil. Kurnub has al- 
ready become a center for scientists, engineers, and geologists. 

Beyond the cattle country to the southeast, the true desert be- 
gins. Most of the country's mineral resources are in this area. 
There are vast quantities of iron and considerable phosphates. 

Eleven miles north of Elath, near Beer Ora, are King Solomon's 
mines. The Israel Mining Company is constructing a modern cop- 
per mine; a tunnel over a thousand feet long has been drilled 
through the mountain. Manganese is also being mined, and it is 
planned to ship this out through the nearby port of Elath. 

This sturdy little town, Israel's newest port, is a community of 
600 inhabitants. Living conditions are not good. The water is bad; 
the heat is intense. Yet a hospital, a post-office and a bakery have 
been built. There are guest houses for visitors and a number of per- 
manent homes. Soon a water infiltration plant will be completed. 
Elath means a great deal for Israel's trade with Africa and the East. 
It is, however, in an extremely perilous situation. Israel's eight miles 
are wedged in between Egypt and Jordan. The Egyptians have for- 
tified the two small islands lying athwart the harbor; the passage 
there is only a half-mile wide. The attitude of its Arabic neighbors 
will largely determine the future of Elath. 

4. Dauntless Tel Aviv 

Throughout Israel there are towns and villages that go back 
three thousand years and that are rich in monuments of antiquity. 
However, one of Israel's most fascinating and most rapidly grow- 
ing cities was founded only in 1909, and contains no mementoes 
of the past. Along its crowded streets lined by cafes, restaurants, 
attractive shops, department stores, and balconied white apartment 
houses, hurry tanned youngsters, eager businessmen dressed in 
sports attire and carrying brief cases, and mothers with baby car- 
riages. The pavement groans under its load of trucks, busses, taxis, 
and private cars. The esplanade along the impressive and exciting 
waterfront skirts scores of open-air restaurants where lively orches- 
tras play in the evening. Luxurious hotels look out upon the blue 
Mediterranean. If it were not for the signs in Hebrew, one would 



ERETZ ISRAEL 109 

think one were in Atlantic Qty or in Nice. This is Tel Aviv 
the "Hill of Spring." 

The city was originally planned by its 40 founding fathers as a 
garden suburb of Jaffa. It was to be a residential community; 
factories and commercial enterprises were to be banned. 

Despite difficulties with the Turks during World War I and 
with the British later on, Tel Aviv continued to grow rapidly. 
The hostility of the Arabs in Jaffa caused a wholesale migration 
of Jewish merchants to the new town. This change altered its 
original character but laid the foundation for its prosperity. By 
1924, there were 25,000 people in the city. The rise of Nazism 
brought tens of thousands of German Jews as new immigrants. 
At the last census, Tel Aviv's population was 358,500, making it 
Israel's largest city. 

It was in Tel Aviv that the Jewish state was born, and until the 
government moved to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv was the capital of the 
country. 

5. Beautiful Haifa 

There is a saying in Israel: "Jerusalem is the city of the past; 
Tel Aviv is the city of the present; but Haifa is the city of the 
future." Although it is an old city, it cannot, however, claim the 
antiquity of Jerusalem. It goes back only to Roman times and no 
mention is found of it in the Bible. During most of the nineteenth 
century, it was little more than a walled village. As late as 1920, it 
was a somnolent fishing village in the middle of swamp land. 
About 2,000 Jews lived in miserable alleys; half the population 
suffered from malaria. The one distinctive building, on the slopes 
of Mount Carmel, was the Technion, the Technical Institute, 
which had been built in 1912 but had not yet opened its doors. 

It was Theodor Herzl who, with prophetic vision, saw the pos- 
sibilities of Haifa. In Alt Neuland, published in 1902, he describes 
the recovered Homeland with Haifa, its port, a city of lovely 
homes and gardens. Herzl predicted that it would become a me- 
tropolis by 1923. Although its population has reached only 150,000, 
it is considered by most people to be the most beautiful city of 
Israel. 

Situated on a glittering bay that has been compared with that 



110 THIS Is ISRAEL 

of Naples and Rio de Janeiro, it nestles at the foot of picturesque, 
pine-wooded Mount Carmel. The top of the eminence is 1,658 
feet high. It is on this mountain, Erem-El ("Vineyard of God"), 
that the fiery prophet Elijah proved the supremacy of Yahweh 
over Baal and slew 450 of the latter's priests at the Brook Kishon. 

Running parallel to the port is the Kingsway, a stately avenue 
of consulates, banks, restaurants, and cafes. At right angles is Car- 
mel Street, a beautiful hill road and principal thoroughfare of the 
German colony. The Germans were deported during World War 
II by the British, but their attractive homes still remain. Adjoining 
the German Colony is the Arab quarter with its oriental market 
and restaurants. 

Above the Arab quarter is the Hadar, a residential and com- 
mercial district, and beyond, the beautiful Persian Garden. The 
garden is like a Persian rug; in a simple building on its grounds are 
buried two chief disciples of the Baha'i faith, Abdul Baha and the 
Bab. Further up the mountain is the Carmelite Monastery, on 
the grounds of which is a rude cave in which the prophet Elijah 
is said to have lived. On the top of the mountain one observes a 
wonderful panoramic view of the city and of the bay. Tiny ships 
are seen dotting the magnificent blue harbor, along one side of 
whose shore stand the cooling vats of the oil refinery like huge 
concrete milk bottles. 

For Haifa does have industries. In fact, one of Haifa's distinc- 
tions is that, in the lonely Technion on the slopes of Mount Carmel, 
the Histadruth, (the federation of Jewish Workers in Palestine) 
was founded in 1920. Virtually every worker in Israel belongs to 
it, and it owns more than one-fifth of all economic enterprises in 
the country. It is the strongest single force politically, socially, 
and economically in Israel. And the Technion, the building in 
which Histadruth was founded, has become the M.I.T. of Israel. 

6. Jerusalem The Holy City 

Although it has been sacked and burned repeatedly during its 
three thousand years of existence, Jerusalem has always risen 
phoenix-like from the ashes. Sacred to three great faiths Judaism, 
Christianity, and Islam it has been embellished by the works of 



ERETZ ISRAEL 111 

artists and architects from all nations. Prominent among its build- 
ings of pink and tan-colored stone are the green-domed Russian 
Orthodox church, the beautiful Italian Hospice, the marble- 
crowned Mosque of Omar, the attractive quarter formerly owned 
by the German Templars, the Ghetto of the Polish Jews, and the 
American YMCA building with its magnificent tower. Jerusalem 
is a mixture of Orient and Occident, of antiquity and modernity. 

Strife between Arab and Jew has divided the ancient city into 
two: 1) the Old City with its cobble-stone streets, historic 
churches, synagogues, and mosques, sacred sites, and sixteenth-cen- 
tury wall belongs to Jordan; 2) the New City, founded less than a 
century ago, the capital of Israel. 

The Jebusite city of Urashalim was a thousand years old when 
King David conquered it in 1000 B.C. In the intervening 3,000 
years, it has been besieged nineteen times. David enlarged the city, 
including the nearby hill on which stood the castle of the Jebusites, 
called Zion. By placing the Ark of the Covenant in the city, he 
made it the spiritual capital of the Jews. 

David's son, Solomon, built the famous Temple which endured 
less than 500 years. In fact, less than 70 years after David's entry 
into Jerusalem, the monarchy was divided, and his city remained 
the capital of Judah only. The Egyptian, the Assyrian, and the 
Babylonian plundered the city. King Cyrus of Persia, conqueror 
of Babylon, invited the Jewish exiles to return home. Although 
there was considerable eagerness to re-establish the spiritual su- 
premacy of the city of David, the Temple was not restored until 
517. The attempt of the Greeks to Hellenize the sacred shrine 
led to the revolt of the Maccabees. Jerusalem survived these on- 
slaughts until the Romans, under Titus, took the city in 69 A.D., 
sacked it and destroyed Judah. 

The butchery of the Jews by the Romans was appalling. Thou- 
sands died of starvation on the way to Rome; thousands more were 
crucified. Those who reached the capital were dragged through 
the streets and sacrificed to wild beasts in the Coliseum. An arch, 
standing today, was erected in honor of Titus, and coins were 
struck, showing the figure of a weeping woman with the words, 
"JudeaCapta." 

Two generations later the redoubtable Bar Kochba, inspired by 



112 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Rabbi Akiba, recovered Jerusalem for the Jews. Despite the fanatic 
zeal of the rebels, mighty Rome crushed the revolt. The City of 
David was reduced to a few streets; most of the town was ploughed 
under and sown with salt. Of Herod's glorious Temple only the 
western wall remained. The city was renamed Aelia Capitolina, 
and a pagan shrine was erected on the site of the Temple. 

There followed the long period of the Diaspora. The glory of 
Jerusalem was gone. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
less than a thousand Jews were to be found in the Holy City. They 
were a pathetic lot: old people who had come to die near the Wail- 
ing Wall, superstitious Orientals, and pious young students. Most 
of them subsisted wretchedly on the Halukka, an annual collection 
taken up for them in Jewish communities throughout the world. 

This was the Jerusalem Moses Montefiore, distinguished English 
philanthropist, found on his first visit in 1827. He made seventeen 
visits in all, his last, at the age of 91, in 1875. Montefiore was an 
"original," a pre-HerzIian Zionist long before the Zionist move- 
ment was formally organized. Disregarding political implications, 
he sought to establish a homeland for his co-religionists, with Jeru- 
salem as the capital. He recognized the unwholesomeness of the 
Halukka and opposed it vigorously. In place of this parasitic ar- 
rangement of unreliable charity, he proposed a self-supporting 
community. In 1858, he persuaded a number of families to leave 
the crowded ghetto of the walled city and to establish a new settle- 
ment outside. This was the beginning of a New City of Jerusalem. 
The windmill which Montefiore constructed is still standing. Aided 
by other philanthropists like the Rothschilds, the new quarters out- 
side the walls prospered. Shops, schools, and synagogues arose; 
pious Jews left the ghettos of Europe to join their brethren in the 
New Jerusalem. At Montefiore's last visit, the Jewish population 
had increased to 20,000. By 1905, there were 40,000 Jews, com- 
pared with 13,000 Christians and 7,000 Moslems in Jerusalem. The 
non-Jews were also attracted by the New City; thousands left the 
old quarters to establish themselves outside the walls. Christian 
churches, missions, schools, and hospitals arose; Moslem mosques 
were erected. The new area took on a cosmopolitan character: 
there was the Mea Shearim quarter of the ultra-orthodox Jews, the 
German colony of the Protestant Templars, and, east of it, the Deir 



ERETZ ISRAEL 113 

Abu Tor of the Arabs. Jerusalem's New City became a babel of 
tongues and religions. 

Not until after World War I, did it, however, become a modern 
city. On the whole, it remained a quiet, pious, unsanitary town, 
with an inadequate water supply and lacking good roads connect- 
ing it with the coast. As of old, however, it continued its significant 
role in Jewish culture. During the three decades following 1880, 
Eliezer Ben Yehuda labored unceasingly there and succeeded in 
establishing Hebrew as the language of Israel. 

When Theodor Herzl visited Jerusalem he wrote in his diary 
on October 31, 1898: 

When I remember thee in rime to come, O Jerusalem it will 
not be with delight. 

The dreary deposits of two thousand years filled with hu- 
manity, intolerance and filth lie in your evil-smelling alleys. The 
only human being always here, the sweet dreamer of Nazareth, 
did nothing but increase the hate. 

If Jerusalem is ever ours, and if I can still accomplish anything 
at that time, the first thing Fd do would be to clean it up. 

I would clear out everything that is not holy, set up workers' 
quarters outside the city, clean out and tear down the nests of 
filth, burn the ruins which aren't holy, and set the bazaars down 
somewhere else. Then retaining as much of the old style of ar- 
chitecture as possible, I would build a comfortable, airy, prop- 
erly drained New City around the Holy Places. . . . 

I would seal up the Old City with its relics, remove the daily 
traffic, and leave only houses of worship and welfare institutions 
within the old wall. And on the hilly slopes round about, which 
our labors would make green, a magnificent New Jerusalem 
would rise. The most elegant people from every part of the world 
would travel on the road to die Mount of Olives. 

A jewel can be made of Jerusalem through care. Everything 
holy to be shut up in the old walls, everything new to be spread 
around outside. 

In 1917, General Edmond Allenby, bareheaded and on foot, 
entered the Holy City at the Jaffa Gate and accepted the surrender 
of the Turkish garrison. The British civil administration, which 
had moved into Jerusalem, determined to make the city beautiful. 
Elaborate plans were drawn up and skilled craftsmen imported 



114 THIS Is ISRAEL 

to restore historic structures. The Dome of the Mosque of Omar 
was retiled; street name plaques of tile were set in the walls of cor- 
ner buildings. New buildings were to be of stone, an excellent 
regulation in view of the abundance of light yellow limestone 
available in the nearby hills. Good roads were built and modern 
sanitary facilities were provided. Jerusalem bloomed. 

With eagerness, the Jews joined in this renascence of the City 
of David. New business and residential areas were laid out. Impres- 
sive buildings to house national institutions were erected. Jerusa- 
lem was the headquarters of the Jewish Agency which represented 
the Jews of Palestine and of the world in their dealings with the 
Mandatory Government. 

When the Mandate ended in 1948, Jerusalem was populated by 
100,000 Jews, 33,000 Mohammedans, and 30,000 Christians. Al- 
though Jews and Arabs lived in the same houses, rode in the same 
busses, worked in the same offices, ate and drank in the same 
cafes, there was always a feeling of uneasiness and distrust, even 
in days of peace. Periodically the smouldering antagonism burst 
forth: their Arab servants refused to work for Jews; Arabs rode 
only in Arab busses, Jews only in Jewish cabs. The British put up 
barbed wire enclosures and patrolled the streets with armored cars. 

When Partition was adopted by the United Nations in Novem- 
ber, 1947, violence erupted. Both Jews and Arabs made use of 
cruel, brutal terrorist methods. The British followed a hands-off 
policy, thus increasing the tension and precipitating chaos; in May, 
1948, they pulled out completely. The strife then assumed the 
character of a full-fledged war. After six months' siege, the Jews 
of Old Jerusalem were forced to surrender. The New City, on 
the other hand, was held by the Israelis with the exception of 
much of the Christian Quarter and Mt. Scopus with the Hadassah 
Hospital and the Hebrew University. 

A truce, which lasted only one month, was imposed by the 
United Nations on June 10th. On July 17th, a second truce was 
imposed. Intermittent fighting and sniping continued. One of the 
victims of the clandestine violence was Count Folke Bernadotte, 
U.N. Mediator, who was killed apparently by a Jewish terrorist 
of the "Fatherland Front" (spawned by the "Stern Gang"), 
as his jeep drove through a former Arab section of the town. Peace 



ERETZ ISRAEL 115 

came in November, but Jerusalem was paralyzed. Many buildings 
had been destroyed; the people were idle and without means and 
the new government was in Tel Aviv. For almost a year, former 
Arab quarters stood empty. Professional men and artisans had 
left the city. 

When government offices of the new state were moved to Jeru- 
salem, the city's dormant economy revived. Hundreds of officials 
arrived; thousands of new immigrants came in. Since Mount 
Scopus was now a de-militarized zone, obliging the Israelis to 
give up the magnificent buildings of the Hadassah Hospital and 
the Hebrew University, new quarters had to be found. Fortunately, 
the Franciscan friars of Terra Sancta Monastery made classroom 
space available for professors and students. The establishment of 
the Knesset in Jerusalem was bitterly assailed by the Arabs, who 
insisted that the UN had recommended that the city be interna- 
tionalized (despite the fact that, in 1947-48, they had with equal 
bitterness opposed the Partition Plan which had included, among 
its recommendations, the internationalization of Jerusalem). It is 
significant that a number of foreign embassies, including that of 
the United States, are in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem. 

The Israelis claim Jerusalem as their immemorial capital. It is, 
however, a divided city, with the Mandelbaum Gate as the only 
passage from the Old to the New. Although most of the shrines 
and sacred sites are in the Old City among them the Wailing 
Wall the Israelis did manage to capture one of the holiest places, 
namely, Mount Zion. On that site King David built his citadel, 
and there his bones rest, interred in a stone sarcophagus. To count- 
less Jews, who pray there every day, it recalls the glories of ancient 
Israel. The suffering of their modern descendants are brought to 
mind by a more recent memorial: a shrine, the Tomb of the Un- 
known Martyr, which contains the ashes of 100,000 Jews who met 
their death in Hitler's crematories. 

The New City is a busy, bustling place with attractive shops, 
fine restaurants, crowded movies, and comfortable cafes. In the 
residential areas, the streets are tree-lined and the houses are 
fronted by neat gardens. Although it may be warm during the 
summer day, evenings are delightfully cool, for Jerusalem is 
located on a plateau 3,000 feet above sea level When looking out 



THIS Is ISRAEL 

over the magnificent city from some high vantage point like the 
soaring YMCA tower, one cannot help feeling the import of the 
words of the hymn: 

Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blessed, 
Beneath thy contemplation sink heart and voice oppressed. 

7. Arab Towns 

Since about ten per cent of Israel's population is Arab, it is not 
strange that entire towns and villages should be Arab. It is, how- 
ever, strange for the Christian to learn that the most typical Arab 
city and least Jewish one of Israel is Jesus' native town, Nazareth. 
The Jews left before the end of the sixth century. Another sur- 
prising thing is that its population is also quite radical in political 
views. In its first election under Israeli auspices, fifty per cent 
of the inhabitants voted for the Communist ticket. Although the 
proportion of Red adherents has now fallen to below ten per cent, 
the Communist leader of Israel lives in Nazareth. 

It is also one of the least modern of Israeli cities. Although 
there are some newer buildings, paved streets, a cigaret factory, 
and a bus station, Nazareth remains rooted in the past. The natives, 
in flowing robes, walk in the middle of the street. Camels move 
along with dignified self-assurance and sleepy-eyed donkeys 
stand patiently in the shade. Young girls carry water jugs on their 
heads as did their ancestors in the days of Jesus; they walk to 
Mary's Well, one of the few authentic Holy Places in Israel. 

Jesus undoubtedly trod these ancient, irregular cobble-stones in 
the cool, narrow lanes, where children are at play, or Arabs sit 
cross-legged, half asleep. It requires little imagination to picture 
the Holy Family living in one of the open shops. In fact, under 
the Church of St. Joseph the visitor is shown a cave where Mary 
and Joseph lived after the return from their flight to Egypt. There 
is also the ancient synagogue near the market place where, it is 
said, Jesus studied and taught. Nearby is the Church of Mensa 
Christa, containing the stone table of Christ, where Jesus is sup- 
posed to have dined with His disciples after the Resurrection. The 
most sacred edifice, however, is the Church of the Annunciation 



ERETZ ISRAEL 117 

standing where the angel is said to have appeared to Mary to an- 
nounce the birth of Jesus. 

Nazareth was an ideal place for Jesus to become acquainted 
with the common people. Strolling down the cobble-stone alleys, 
he could see the smiths, the carpenters, the potters, and jewelers 
at work. In the market-place, he observed the buying and selling, 
the loading and unloading of fruits and vegetables, and the draw- 
ing of water from the well. A short distance outside the gates, 
the young boy could wander over the lovely hillsides with their 
grazing herds, or look down into pretty gardens and orchards. 

Most of this beauty, woven so simply and so skilfully into the 
parables of the Great Teacher, has disappeared. What was once 
the neat little village of Cana, where the wedding took place and 
the first miracle was performed, is now Kf ar Canna, consisting of 
a few hundred modest Arab houses along dusty paths. A red- 
domed Catholic church stands on the reputed site of the wedding 
feast; a nearby chapel claims to possess two of the jugs in which 
the water was turned into wine. The road east of Kfar Canna 
meanders through barren hills and uninviting country, dropping 
rapidly until it reaches the Sea of Galilee, 25 miles from Nazareth 
and 682 feet below sea level. 

Northeast of Nazareth, on the shores of the Mediterranean, is 
another town that has preserved its Arab character. That is Acre, 
rising from a sturdy wall with turrets. Flanked by a rugged 
fortress, it is one of the oldest cities in the world. The Phoenicians 
knew it, 3,400 years ago. Its most glorious era, however, was that 
of the Crusaders. Ejected from Jerusalem, they made this town 
their principal port, calling it St. Jean d'Acre. Under the aegis of 
the wealthy orders of the Templars and the Knights of St. John, 
the city flourished. They built palaces with roof gardens and silk 
awnings. A lively trade was carried on with Venice and other 
Italian ports. In 1271, Marco Polo, the famous traveler, visited it 
on his way to the East. Acre's splendor did not last long. In 1291 
the Saracens captured and ravished it. The fall of Acre was the 
end of Crusader rule in the Holy Land. 

Toward the close of the eighteenth century an adventurer and 
former slave named Achmed gained control of Acre. His cruelty 
was without parallel: he cut off the ears and noses of people he 



118 THIS Is ISRAEL 

did not like; he nailed his wife in a chest and dumped it into the 
sea; he had live men mortared into the city wall. With ease he 
earned his nickname, "The Butcher." Nevertheless, he was also 
interested in architecture and adorned Acre with some of its most 
beautiful structures. Among these is the green-domed mosque, 
"The Butcher's Mosque," where el Djezzar is buried. His end 
was near in 1799 when Napoleon besieged the city, but he had the 
good fortune of being saved because of the presence of a British 
fleet in the harbor. 

In 1948, Acre fell to a small force of Israeli infantry and marines. 
Thousands of immigrants were attracted to the city. New suburbs 
arose and a steel plant was built on the outskirts. Cooperatives 
were organized among the Arabs by the Histadruth, and a kinder- 
garten, the first for Arab children in Palestine, was established. 

Acre still maintains its Arab character. Bearded natives squat 
languidly in the shade of narrow alleys; donkeys, laden with 
olive oil, pickles, oranges, and lemons, trot lazily along the dusty 
highways; fishermen repair their handmade nets or work on their 
little boats. Towering above it all is Achmed's gorgeous mosque 
with its Persian fountain, its magnificent rugs and its lacy iron 
work. And, in a splendid case, rests one hair from the head of the 
Prophet, Mohammed. 

8. A Bit of Bavariain Israel 

In sharp contrast to the dusty, cobbled alleys of Acre are the 
smooth, immaculate streets of tidy Nahariyah, which looks as if 
it belonged in Southern Bavaria. Set in lovely little gardens are 
quaint, little houses with red gable roofs. The doorways are carved; 
the woodwork gleams with fresh paint. On either side of a pretty 
brook flowing through the town are two lanes of trees. This is 
Nahariyah settled by middle-class immigrants from Germany 
in 1934. 

It contains attractive hotels and restaurants, a museum and a 
library. For a number of years, it maintained a typically Central 
European atmosphere in language, food, customs, and the dress, 
all of which were German. Recently, however, with a considerable 
influx of new arrivals from countries other than Germany, Na- 



ERETZ ISRAEL 119 

hariyah has become more Israeli. Especially marked has been the 
influence of Americans from the nearby collective of Gesher Haziv 
and of the Sabras ("fruit of the cactus"), those born in Israel. Not 
far from Nahariyah is the beautiful seaside village of Shavei Zion, a 
moshav shitufi or cooperative-collective. 

9. Mixture of Old and New 

In a number of instances former Arab towns have been taken 
over completely by immigrants, thus assuming an entirely new 
aspect. Good examples of this type of town are Ramleh and Lydda, 
just three miles apart. 

In Lydda's old quarter, there still stand buildings dating from 
Roman and Crusader times. The cathedral, which was originally 
founded by Richard Coeur de Lion, houses the remains of St. 
George, the dragon-killer. The chains of his martyrdom are still 
shown. 

However, the Lydda of today has far more practical signifi- 
cance. A busy place, with planes taking off and arriving almost 
continually, it is Israel's airport. Many a visitor has his first view 
of Israel when he disembarks from tie airliner at Lydda, which 
lies midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 



VII 

Israel: A New Way of Life 



1. The Cooperative Settlements 

ONE of Israel's most unusual and significant contributions to 
social theory and practice is the kibbutz. Hundreds of this type 
of collective farm are now in the new state. As efficient, produc- 
tive agricultural units, they have established a firm economic 
basis for the struggling young nation; as social enterprises, they 
have demonstrated the feasibility of human beings living and work- 
ing in close daily contact, held together by a high ideal. 

It is amazing how successful Israeli pioneers have been in the 
face of seemingly insuperable difficulties. Through indefatigable 
zeal they have within a few years built, in regions barren for 
20 centuries, thriving farm communities where thousands live in 
comfort and work in security. The words of the Psalmist have 
come true: "The desert shall bloom like a rose." It is not only 
blooming; it is producing substantial crops of wheat, corn, barley, 
and beets. Some kibbitixdm have branched out into industry and 
now supply the nation with plywood, knit goods, shoes, printed 
matter, and marble. 

Where did this unusual movement originate? As in the case of 
the revival of Hebrew, it was the idea of one obscure individual, 
by all appearances entirely unsuited for his task. As we have 
noted, Aaron David Gordon, the soft spoken, 48-year-old intel- 
lectual, rebelled against the ghetto life of Eastern Europe and 
imbued with a new social ideal, left his wife and children in Russia 

120 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 121 

to go to Palestine in 1903 and "redeem the land" by a return to 
manual labor and to the soil. "If we do not till the soil with our 
own hands," said he, "it will not be ours." 

Gordon's prophetic cry of redemption drew ten boys and two 
girls to the sparsely populated Jordan Valley. Not far from the 
Sea of Galilee, the first collective was formed and named Dagania 
("Cornflower"). 

The enterprise, like all new undertakings of this kind, meant 
heartbreaking toil, bitter disappointments and crushing defeats. 
Ridiculous mistakes were made by the young pioneers; but with 
invincible faith in their ideal, they attacked the parched soil. Fin- 
ally, their efforts were crowned with success. They not only estab- 
lished a productive farm, but a new way of life. 

Private property was abolished; everything was held in common. 
Women were given absolutely the same rights as men and were 
not to be relegated to the kitchen or the nursery. Children were 
the joint responsibility of the entire village. A new ideal of family 
life and motherhood 'was developed. 

How far this has gone can be seen by visiting a kibbutz. A 
married couple occupy a single room in one of the whitewashed, 
red-roofed cottages, with a balcony, but no kitchen. They share 
a bath with two other couples in the same house. All infants live 
in the baby house, under care of a trained nurse who bathes, 
clothes, and feeds them (although some kibbutzim arrange now 
for parents to tend their children and keep them by their side in 
these tiny, simple homes) . 

The daily routine in a kibbutz is not easy. At 5:30 AM each 
member rises, dresses, washes, and walks to the Hadar Ochel (din- 
ing room), the largest building and social center. Breakfast usually 
consists of cereal, egg, and whatever fruit is in season. If a member 
is not on a permanent crew, he consults the bulletin board to see 
what job the Work Committee has assigned to him. 

In the kibbutz there are no worries about permanent tenure, 
insurance, hospital bills, securing an apartment, supporting aged 
parents, children's education, taxes or burial expenses. The kib- 
butznik gets everything he requires in return for performing his 
appointed job "to each according to his need." He rarely sees 



122 THIS Is ISRAEL 

money, except during his two weeks vacation when he is given a 
few Israeli pounds to spend. 

Due, however, to differences in upbringing and temperament, 
dissatisfaction with this Spartan regime appeared. The result was 
the founding of a variety of collective settlements with modifica- 
tions of the basic ideas. 

Some pioneers felt that it would be more economical to create 
larger villages; they maintained that manufacturing and farming 
went hand in hand. The first of the larger collectives was estab- 
lished in 1921. Various types of industry were added to the tilling 
of the soil. However, the type of kibbutz which is devoted solely 
to agriculture continues to exist and is known as the kvutzot. 

It was not only the practical issues of size and of adding indus- 
tries that confronted the pioneers. More fundamental was the 
theoretical aspect: the view of life. Soon the collectives fell into 
various categories according to the political views and the philo- 
sophic or religious attitudes of their members. They now range all 
the way from the settlements of the very pious whose motto is 
"Torah and work" to those of agnostic left-wingers, with various 
modified forms in between. 

Among the basic ideals of the kibbutz are equality of opportu- 
nity and of sacrifice, emphasis on productive work, and the libera- 
tion of women from traditional household tasks. In the early years 
of the kibbzttz, various adjustments were made to allow for greater 
individual liberty; but even these mutations could not satisfy every- 
one. Some wanted a more intimate life with their children and the 
right to choose their work. They were ready to sacrifice the care- 
free security of communal living for the sake of personal enter- 
prise. And so on September 1, 1921, seventy-five families founded 
Nahalal ("Trail Blazer") in the middle of a swamp in pestilential 
Emek Jezreel. It was the first so-called moshav ovdim, a coopera- 
tive settlement of small holders. 

In the moshav, although the basic principles of the kibbutz are 
retained, there is considerable extension of personal freedom. Each 
family is given 26 acres; a loan from the Jewish Foundation Fund 
provides the means for building a home. Each farmer works as 
long or as little as he wishes. His profits, after paying his taxes, 
are his own. He cannot hire labor, however, for the ideal of the 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 123 

kibbutz is consistently maintained: redemption of the land through 
self-toil. 

The moshav is a cooperative rather than a collective. Crops are 
marketed and seeds are bought cooperatively. Each farmer is 
under obligation to devote one and a quarter acres to trees and to 
rotate his crops according to a fixed schedule. The community 
provides some social security: help is given in case of illness, mili- 
tary service by the oldest son, or death of the head of the family. 

Life in the moshav is no easier than in the kibbutz; in fact, it 
may be harder. No eight-hour day is kept, and the individual's 
livelihood depends not only on his ability and energy, but also 
on chance. No over-all insurance against every type of loss is 
provided as in the kibbutz. Women, not confined to one task, have 
all the worries and the drudgery of cooking, washing, house-clean- 
ing, child care and farm work. A poor season, ill health, or some 
other misfortune may reduce a family to a low level of exist- 
ence. 

On the other hand a moshav is more spirited than a kibbutz. It is 
evident that personal freedom and the joys and sorrows of inti- 
mate family life offset the toil of long hours and the risks of private 
enterprise. 

Even this modification, however, of the kibbutz did not prove 
entirely satisfactory to all. It was felt that the good features of 
both the security and economy of the kibbutz could be suc- 
cessfully combined with the cooperative features and family life 
of the moshav. This led to the moshav shitufi, an experiment in 
semi-collective living, the first of which Kfar Hittim was estab- 
lished in 193<S near Tiberias. Others followed rapidly. 

The most impressive and beautiful moshav of this type is Shavei 
Zion ("Returnees to Zion"), founded on the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean in 1938 by immigrants from one German village. Here 
each family is allotted an individual dwelling, complete with 
kitchen and bath. There are village stores, a community restaurant, 
and a fin^e modern hotel with swimming pool, all of which help 
to make the village, with its red-roofed houses and avenues of 
trees, extremely attractive. 

The moshav shitufi permits its members a limited amount of 
money a family food allotment and a small allowance as pocket 



124 THIS Is ISRAEL 

money. The profits of the mosbav are divided between the member- 
ship and the community as a whole. As in the kibbutz, the 
younger generation assumes more and more responsibility. Youths 
in their teens study three hours and work five, daily. Gradually, 
they assume greater burdens until at twenty years of age, they 
become full members. 

Although the dining hall and the children's house are absent, 
the moshav preserves many of the collectivist features of the kib- 
butz. The community builds the homes, provides the furniture, 
supports the aged, educates the children. Nevertheless, in the opin- 
ion of many observers, some of the advantages of the pure kib- 
butz are missing, notably the high idealism and the desire to share 
equally both hardship and accomplishment. 

Each system has its champions; each is an attempt to find a 
satisfactory solution to man's basic but contradictory desires: 
freedom and security. When Israel was established, there were 
143 kibbutzim and kvutzot, 57 moshve ovdim, 11 moshavim 
shitufiyim, and 78 moshavot (private villages). The kibbutz seemed 
to be the most popular. Then came mass immigration of political 
refugees and survivors of concentration camps and detention cen- 
ters. These were not attracted by the kibbutz but rather by the 
moshav ovdim. The kter are manifesting a mushroom growth; 
indeed, they are growing so rapidly that often considerations of 
beauty and comfort are neglected. 

The ideal of Gordon is being realized, for the land is being re- 
deemed by self-labor. Over one-fifth of the population of Israel 
now lives on farms and toils with its hands. On 230 collective 
farms, the barren landscape is being transformed into fruitful 
agricultural areas. Tens of thousands of devoted, hard-working 
Israelis are making Gordon's words come true: "Labor is the great 
human ideal of the future and a great ideal is like the healing sun." 

2. Education in Israel: "Pressure Cooker" 

The young republic of Israel was confronted by the same soci- 
ological problem which has been a major concern of America for 
over one hundred and fifty years, namely, the rapid assimilation of 
a constant stream of immigrants. The task of welding into one peo- 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 125 

pie hundreds of thousands of newcomers speaking different 
languages was placed largely upon the schools. Fortunately, there 
has always been a long, rich tradition of learning throughout Jew- 
ish history. The Jews have since time immemorial devoted much 
time and effort to scholarship, and they alone of all ancient nations 
provided for the universal schooling of their children. Evidence of 
this can be found in the Palestinian Talmud of about 400 B.C., 
as well as in the works of Josephus. The Torah holds that the study 
of the divine law is the religious duty not only of priests but also 
of the common man. And the Talmud declares: "An unlearned 
man cannot be pious." 

After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Ro- 
mans in 70 A.D., the Torah, i.e., the written law, became even more 
important, for it had to replace the destroyed sanctuary and the 
suppressed homeland. How well it served its purpose is seen by 
the fact that the Jews continued to preserve their identity for a 
thousand years in the midst of alien civilizations. Only in western 
Europe, through the civic emancipation of the Jew, was a breach 
made in the sturdy wall of Talmud-Torah education. A dual sys- 
tem arose: general, secular subjects were taught in the public 
schools and only in the cheder and in the yeshiva did Jewish 
education continue to flourish. With the national renascence of 
the Jewish people in Israel, the dualistic system lost ground and a 
new educational synthesis developed. 

During the British Mandate, most funds allotted to education 
were given to Arab schools, and what remained for Jewish schools 
were entirely inadequate. In view of this, the Yishuv (Jewish com- 
munity) called upon public-spirited individuals and Zionist or- 
ganizations for support. Through such assistance and self-taxa- 
tion, the Yishuv was successful in organizing and maintaining 
an educational system from kindergarten to university. 

Since these schools were supported by the voluntary contribu- 
tions of the Jewish communities, it was natural that a considerable 
amount of diversity arose. Each community sought to establish 
schools in consonance with its own social background or religious 
outlook. Similar schools fell into certain groups which main- 
tained a considerable degree of financial and administrative in- 
dependence and were known as "trends." 



126 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Four major types of trends developed: (1) the Labor Trend, 
the largest, which stressed the social principles of the Israel Labor 
movement; (2) the General Trend, the oldest, which provided a 
general education without special emphasis; (3) the Mizrachi 
Trend, which placed emphasis on Jewish tradition and religious 
studies; and (4) the Agudat Israel Trend which assigned central 
place to religious studies. Although each trend operated inde- 
pendently under the supervision of its chief inspectors, coopera- 
tion and coordination between the groups continued to grow. 

When the Mandate ended, the new state of Israel inherited this 
educational system which included kindergartens, elementary 
and secondary schools, trade and technical institutions, agricultural 
colleges and teachers' training seminaries, with a total of 97,000 
pupils and students. 

With the doubling of the population by immigration there was 
a threefold increase in the number of school children. Only 
through tireless efforts by the authorities was it possible to provide 
the buildings, equipment, and staff required to take care of some 
350,000 children. 

A compulsory education kw was passed a few months after 
signing of the Armistice with the Arab states; it provided for 
compulsory free education for all children (both Jewish and Arab) 
from five to fourteen. Israel is the only country in the Middle 
East that provides so extensive a free educational service. 

The structure of the Israeli school system is simple: 

L All children between three and six may attend the kindergar- 
ten, although only the final year, age five, is required by law. 

2. The elementary school provides eight years of schooling, from 
the age of six to fourteen. There are special schools for diffi- 
cult children, as well as for backward and physically handi- 
capped. Schools for young workers between 14 and 17 years 
of age provide for those who have not completed their ele- 
mentary education. 

3. The secondary schools offer four years of instruction. Gradu- 
ates are admitted to the Hebrew University or any other in- 
stitution of higher learning. In the agricultural settlements, 
secondary education is provided by continuation classes inte- 
grated with the elementary schools. There are also a number 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 127 

of trade and agricultural schools which offer four years of in- 
struction. 

4. The institutions of higher learning consist of the Hebrew 
University, in Jerusalem, the Technical Institute (Technion) in 
Haifa, and the Weizmann Institute of Science and Agricultural 
Institute in Rehovoth. The teacher training colleges offer a one- 
year course for kindergarten teachers and a two-year course 
for elementary schoolteachers. 

In the summer of 1953, a new education law was passed, abol- 
ishing the trends and establishing a unified school system for the 
whole country; it provides for religious as well as secular schools. 
In fact, in all government schools the wishes of the parents as to 
religious training are respected. In the 100 Arab schools, three 
periods a week are devoted to instruction in either the Christian 
or Moslem faith. 

The law allows private schools, but in these 75 per cent of the 
curriculum must conform to government standards, and teachers 
must be approved and supervised by the Ministry of Education 
and Culture. About 14,000 pupils attend private schools, chiefly 
religious institutions of Agudat Israel. There are 225,000 pupils 
in the public elementary schools. About 70 per cent of the chil- 
dren in Israel between the ages of three and six attend a kinder- 
garten, a much higher proportion than in most other countries of 
the world. The kindergarten is considered extremely important, 
for it forms the Hebrew speech patterns of the young child and 
helps to create a new, homogeneous generation from the masses 
of diverse origins. Special attention is devoted to nature study 
and to the problems of building up the country. There is emphasis 
upon love and respect for physical labor. The children are intro- 
duced to Jewish customs and folklore. The entire cost of the 1,340 
kindergartens is borne by the government. 

From six to fourteen every child must attend an elementary 
school. The curriculum is based on that of elementary schools in 
Europe and the United States, with the addition of Biblical and 
Talmudic literature. Nature study and geography are stressed, 
since every endeavor is made to adapt the school to the special 
needs of the country. The ideal stressed is not only that of the 



128 THIS Is ISRAEL 

good citizen but of the self-sacrificing pioneer, so urgently needed 
to develop the wastelands. 

The vast majority of new pupils are immigrant children. The 
rapid adaptation of these youngsters to the life, language, and cus- 
toms of Israel is a tribute to the excellent work of the elementary 
schools. Within four years, the number of pupils has tripled. 
There are now almost 1,400 elementary schools in Israel. 

Israel's 80 high schools are equally well established. Their cur- 
riculum is enriched with specifically Jewish subjects such as the 
Bible, the Mishna and Gemara and medieval and modern Jewish 
literature. Stress is placed on the modern Jewish national move- 
ment, on physical training, and on nature study. 

In addition to the four-year high school there is also the twelve- 
year school which accepts children direct from the kindergarten. 
A new type of organization is six grades of elementary schooling 
followed by six grades of high school education. 

Although elementary education is free, secondary education is 
not. Increasingly, however, the Ministry of Education is providing 
scholarships for deserving elementary school pupils. Since estab- 
lishment of the State, the secondary school population has more 
than tripled, rising from 6,542 to more than 23,750. 

An important branch of vocational education is agricultural 
training. For almost 50 years, the Mikveh Israel School, founded 
by the Alliance Israelite Universelle, was the only institution of 
its kind in the country. Recently there has been a rapid growth 
in the number of technical and agricultural schools; the number 
of pupils is 11,500. In view of the importance of farming to Israel 
and the urgent need for farm workers, it is not surprising to find 
that agriculture is a school subject throughout the grades. From 
their earliest years, the youngsters are trained to raise vegetables 
and flowers, and to keep bees and poultry. 

Another problem confronting the Ministry of Education was 
to provide for thousands of young workers who were illiterate 
or whose education had been disrupted. Evening schools, parallel- 
ing the work of the day schools, were organized. In the vocational 
schools, such subjects are offered as metal work, automobile re- 
pairing, agricultural mechanics, electricity, carpentry, watch-re- 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 129 

pairing, sewing, weaving, home economics and seamanship- 
courses that usually take three years to complete. 

An important factor in Jewish life has always been the yeshiva 
or Talmudical college. Today there are 127 yeshivot in Israel 
with an enrollment of 5,567. 

There are 25 teacher training colleges, providing a two-year 
course for elementary school teachers. A three-year course leads 
to the A.B. degree; five years' study is required for the M.A. The 
latter qualifies one to teach in secondary schools. Since 1949, the 
number of teachers has tripled. 

In addition to the Hebrew schools, there are those attended by 
Arab children. In 1951-52 some 27,000 children were enrolled in 
105 Arab schools with 750 teachers. Another 4,000 Arab Christian 
children attended schools maintained by various missions. This 
means that about 80 per cent of the total Arab population of 
school age in Israel attends school a much larger proportion than 
in any Mohammedan country. In the eight grades the language of 
instruction is Arabic; Hebrew is taught four to five hours a week, 
beginning with the fourth grade. There is a special seminary for 
the training of Arab teachers. 

The keystone of the Jewish educational system is the Hebrew 
University opened on Mount Scopus in 1925. The isolation of the 
beautiful buildings on the hilltop by the Arab forces in 1948 was 
a severe blow. Arrangements were immediately made, however, to 
continue lectures in temporary premises and, in 1949, the Uni- 
versity resumed its work with about 900 students. Two new 
faculties have been added, and the number of students has risen 
to over 3,000. 

The oldest institute of higher learning is the Technion, or 
Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, whose cornerstone was 
laid in 1912. It began as a Technische Hochschule with German 
as the only language of instruction. Today, Hebrew only is used. 
It is amazing how, within a few years, the ancient tongue has 
been enriched with equivalents for the very latest technical terms 
so that there is a growing body of scientific literature in. Hebrew. 
Courses are given in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, 
and in architecture and science. 

The latest addition to the institutes of higher learning is the 



130 THIS Is ISRAEL 

world-renowned Weizmann Institute of Science at Rehovoth 
founded in 1944 and named for Israel's first president, Dr. Chaim 
Weizmann. With its modern laboratories and its beautiful grounds, 
it is a model center of research. 

Through the elementary schools, the high schools, the adult 
classes and evening courses, a homogeneous national character has 
been developed, and Hebrew has become the language of the 
people. No institution in Israel has made a greater contribution 
to this rapid process of assimilation than the school system. 

3. Histadruth A Creative Labor Movement 

The ideal of the Jewish labor movement was expressed by A. D. 
Gordon: "Labor is not merely the factor which establishes man's 
contact with the land and his claim to the land; it is also the prin- 
cipal force in the building of a national civilization." 

In accord with that concept, Histadruth, the General Federation 
of Jewish Labor, was founded in 1920. There were then some 
60,000 Jews in Palestine. Some had immigrated, inspired by the 
ideal of Gordon; others had come because of unhappy and un- 
favorable conditions in Europe. Almost immediately, they estab- 
lished an agricultural workers' federation dedicated to non-ex- 
ploitation and mutual aid. The organization of a general federation 
of labor had to be deferred until after the First World War. At 
that time Histadruth began with a membership of 4,500. 

A significant statement of the founding conference stated that: 

the Histadruth considers it its duty to create a new type of Jew- 
ish worker, and to see to it that while settlement is being fostered, 
the Jewish worker who came into being as a result of this very 
process, shall be assured the place he deserves. The Histadruth 
includes all workers who live by their own labor without exploit- 
ing the labor of others; it regulates all matters concerning the 
working class in the fields of trade union activities, settlement 
and education, with the aim of building a Jewish workers' com- 
munity. In other words, the new federation undertook not only 
to protect workers, but to create them. 

This meant that, in addition to normal trade union activities, 
Histadruth concerned itself with planned immigration, with educa- 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 131 

tion and vocational training, with health and hospitalization, and 
with the development of a new Jewish culture. 

In the years that have passed, the basic principles of the move- 
ment have remained unchanged. Any person may join Histadruth, 
provided he does not exploit the kbor of another. The membership 
thus embraces industry and agriculture, the skilled and the un- 
skilled, the clerical worker and the liberal professions. By the end 
of 1952, Histadruth included 472,251 men and women. Workers 
belonging to Histadruth constitute almost three-quarters of the 
total working population. 

Recently agreements have been signed with two workers' or- 
ganizations of the Religious Bloc. These, together with the admis- 
sion of Arab workers to the trade unions, will bring the percentage 
of workers in Israel represented in the trade union section to 90%. 

The worker joins Histadruth, not a local craft union. There is 
a basic rate for membership, graded according to income. More 
than 50% of the workers' membership fees is returned in the form 
of social and medical services. The Workers' Sick Fund, Kupat 
Holim, provides full medical care for all members and their families. 

At the base of Histadruth is the Works Committee in the factory 
or shop. Next comes the Local Trade Union which covers a cer- 
tain regional area. Final authority in the area rests with the Local 
Labor Council in town, elected by all the workers in the locality. 
The Council is responsible to the Executive Committee of Histad- 
ruth which is chosen by the General Convention. Voting for the 
General Convention takes place four times a year. 

Every shade of political opinion is represented in Histadruth's 
highest tribunal, the General Council. Leading parties are Mapai, 
the Israel Labor Party, Mapam, the left-wing labor party, and the 
Progressive Party Workers. Local strikes cannot be called without 
the approval of the Local Labor Council. 

Some outstanding achievements of Histadruth include: an eight- 
hour working day, seniority and family allowances, sick leave with 
pay, annual holidays with pay, maternity leave with pay, compen- 
sation of dismissal, accident insurance, and recognition of workers' 
organizations. 

When Israel was established, many functions and responsibilities 
of the labor movement were assumed by the Government. Hista- 



132 THIS Is ISRAEL 

druth cooperated valiantly with the State to increase production 
and reduce inflation. Wages were tied to the cost-of-living index 
so that changes in the price level are automatically reflected in 
the wage scale. 

As early as 1913, before the formation of Histadruth, a Workers' 
Sick Fund, Kufat Holim, had been organized as an integral 
part of the work in each settlement. How intimate and personal 
the service originally was can be seen by the fact that members 
were required to take turns in sitting by the bedside of those who 
were ill. 

By 1953, the Kttpat Holim was providing medical care for an 
enrolled membership of 381,000 who, together with their depend- 
ents, number over 950,000 or more than 60% of the entire popula- 
tion. A network of hospitals and clinics has been built with a 
personnel of nearly 6,000 persons. Revenue is derived from mem- 
bership dues and fees, from employers' voluntary contributions 
and government grants. Ultimately, it is expected the government 
will assume full responsibility for hospitalization, sick pay, mater- 
nity leave, old age pensions, and unemployment insurance. 

The most interesting feature of the Israel Labor movement is 
the wide range of economic and cooperative institutions which 
form an organic part of the Federation. The number of separate 
enterprises engaged in by Histadruth is astounding. There are 
the communal and cooperative settlements on the land; the pro- 
ducers' and consumers' cooperatives; business enterprises in which 
the shares are held in part or in toto by Histadruth; and finally 
national institutions, like the Jewish Agency, in which Histadruth 
has invested money. The basic requirement is that the enterprise 
fulfill a pioneering task or that it facilitate the absorption of new 
immigrants. 

The best known forms of Histadruth economy are, of course, 
the kibbutz and the moshau. Both made possible the survival of 
the Jews in Palestine; they laid the foundations of the Jewish 
state. Today they perform the essential function of supplying food 
for the people. In 1952, there were 2 1 3 collectives and 225 coopera- 
tives, with a total population of 137,220 all members of Histadruth. 

The produce of the kibbutzim is marketed cooperatively 
through the central marketing agency, Tnuva. The cooperative 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 133 

purchasing agency, Hamashbir Hamerkazi, takes care of all of the 
supplies and also controls the consumers' cooperatives. Hmnashbir 
Hamerkazi, the Israel Cooperative Wholesale Society, is the largest 
single distributing agent in the country. About one-third of the 
population buys through consumers' cooperatives. 

As immigration increased, Histadruth turned its attention also to 
the urban workers. Work was provided and opportunities for 
learning trades were developed. A cooperative contracting firm, 
Solel Bonehy was organized; it trains unskilled manual labor and 
secures contracts in road building, public works, and private con- 
struction and is now the largest building construction firm in 
Israel. 

Entrance into building trades led one step further into industry. 
There was an urgent demand for building materials and equip- 
ment; and soon quarries, brick factories, cement works, iron foun- 
dries and glass factories were established. Later flour mills and 
processing plants were added. Most of these enterprises are owned 
directly by Histadruth. 

The influence of Histadruth is also felt in the producers' and 
service cooperatives. In 1952, there were 349 of these, with a mem- 
bership of 12,203. More than 90% of the urban and inter-urban 
passenger bus traffic is carried by cooperatives affiliated with His- 
tadruth. 

In order to provide housing facilities at reasonable cost for 
workers in cities, suburbs and villages, Histadruth has organized 
cooperative housing companies. 

The numerous enterprises and ventures of Histadruth demanded 
high managerial and financial skill. Not only was it necessary to 
mobilize the financial resources of its members, but also to attract 
capital from without. Thus, in 1921, the Workers Bank with a 
capital of 18,000 Palestinian pounds was founded. To provide long- 
term agricultural credits, Nir, a central financial institution, was 
founded. In addition, there is a network of Workers' Credit and 
Savings Cooperative Societies in towns and villages. Hassneb is the 
name of the cooperative insurance company. 

Despite its far-flung activities, Histadruth allows for much flex- 
ibility and adjustment. Its central economic authority, Hevrat 
Ovdim, is entitled to interfere anywhere if there is a breach of co- 



134 THIS Is ISRAEL 

operative principles or of the basic features of the social program. 
Yet members of the farm communities and of the producers' co- 
operatives are perfectly free to manage their daily affairs. It is evi- 
dent that Histadruth has succeeded in its aim of "creating a new 
type of Jewish worker and assuring him the place he deserves." 

But the transformation of the Jewish immigrants into a working 
community also required an extensive educational program. This, 
Histadruth has sought to provide. Through its educational and 
cultural program, it has aimed to mold the thousands of new arriv- 
als, with their different backgrounds and their various languages, 
into a cohesive labor movement with common ideals. 

The program includes the education of children and adults; it em- 
braces cultural as well as vocational training; and it makes use of 
radio and film, and of every type of publication. 

Adult education is conducted through the Cultural Center which 
operates evening schools, workers' libraries, and discussion groups. 
In the Workers' Colleges, young people are trained for responsible 
administrative positions in the various institutions and enterprises 
of Histadruth. 

The Cultural Center publishes pamphlets and magazines, music 
and song collections, maintains dramatic courses, produces films 
and plays, arranges for exhibitions, and spreads its message by radio. 
In 1924, the Workers' Theatre, Ohel, was founded. 

Practical training and academic education are combined in the 
Histadruth youth organization, Hanoar Haoved. In the many trade 
schools, young men are trained to become skilled technicians and 
mechanics. 

Nor is the physical side neglected; in 1926, Histadruth founded 
Hapoel, its sports movement, which boasts a complete physical 
training program in which college instructors in athletics, boxing, 
wrestling, and swimming are trained. Through these various cul- 
tural activities, Histadruth endeavors to provide for all the needs of 
the workers and their families. To keep them abreast of current 
events, a number of publications are issued by Histadruth. The most 
important is Davar, the daily newspaper, which has one of the 
largest circulations in the country; a special supplement is published 
for women workers and children. For those who have not yet ac- 
quired a proficiency in the Hebrew language, Omer, a daily in sim- 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 135 

plified Hebrew, is published. The Histadruth publishing house, Am 
Oved, issues translations of world literature and also publishes many 
original Hebrew books. 

Women occupy an important place in every phase of Israeli life. 
The General Council of Working Women is an integral part of 
Histadruth and, with its 210,000 members, constitutes about 44% of 
the membership of the organization. 

From the start every effort was made to build friendship and 
good feeling with the Arabs in Israel. These amicable overtures, 
however, were repulsed by reactionary Arab nationalist leaders and 
by the Communists. Despite this, large sections of the Arab work- 
ing community were organized into the Palestine Labor League, 
which collaborated closely with Histadruth; after the establish- 
ment of Israel, the League became the Israel Labor League with 
12,000 members scattered throughout 60 Arab communities. It has 
helped improve the standard of wages and of working conditions. 
With the aid of Histadruth, a number of cooperatives spread among 
the Arabs. The introduction of new social forms, the promise of 
full and equal rights, and the participation in the country's political 
life has begun to transform the Arab community, to help to inte- 
grate it into the fabric of Israel. Much remains to be done to assure 
the Arab of his civil and economic rights and to reassure him that 
he is not a "second class citizen," to abolish restrictions by thue 
military on Arab citizens and to give equal employment. In all these 
tasks, Histadruth plays a significant role. 

The social and cultural achievements of Histadruth then may be 
rated even higher than its many successful economic enterprises. It 
has brought about virtually a social revolution in Palestine, land of 
Israel. In its efforts to establish ideals of freedom, democracy and 
justice, it has won recognition throughout the free world as an ex- 
emplary labor movement. Histadruth is obviously the most power- 
ful and most influential political, economic, and social force in 
Israel. 

4. Hadassah The Health of a People 

No other organization has contributed as much to preventive 
medicine, public health, and child welfare in Israel as has Hadassah, 



136 THIS Is ISRAEL 

the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Founded in 191 1 by 
Henrietta Szold of Baltimore, within a few decades it has played the 
major part of transforming the new state into the foremost country 
of the Middle East in hygiene, sanitation, and public health. 

Hadassah's earliest emissaries arrived in a land virtually ignorant 
of public sanitation. Old fashioned remedies, incantations, and 
witchcraft were often relied upon in case of illness. Malaria and 
dysentery ravaged the population; the infant mortality rate was 
staggering. Hadassah's first task was educational; the people had to 
be taught to accept modern medical methods to safeguard and re- 
store health. 

Hadassah came to Palestine as a voluntary organization. The 
Vaad Leumi, governing body of the Jewish community under the 
British Mandate, asked for Hadassah's cooperation. The Medical 
Organization of the latter became the health department of the 
Jewish Agency in Palestine. 

From small beginnings, Hadassah grew with amazing rapidity. 
With the Hebrew University, it built the Rothschild-Hadassah- 
University Hospital and Medical School on Mount Scopus, largest 
and most modern medical center in the Middle East. During World 
War II, the complete services of the hospital were extended to 
Allied Forces stationed in the vicinity. Unfortunately, this splendid 
medical center was lost to Israel when the Arab Legion took over 
the Mount Scopus area; at this writing, both the Hadassah installa- 
tions and the Hebrew University buildings are in a United Nations- 
patrolled No Man's Land. 

Additional hospitals and clinics have, however, been established 
throughout the land. American standards of hospital administration 
have been introduced everywhere. Hadassah also supports a home 
medical service for needy patients, who are visited by nurses in 
their homes and are given examinations and treatment. Further- 
more, a convalescent -day home and a tuberculosis hospital, the 
latter in Saf ad, are maintained. 

A most interesting feature of Hadassah's medical services is its 
child care service. Beginning with prenatal care for the mother, this 
service follows the child through infancy and adolescence. Ha- 
dassah's network of 52 child welfare stations are open to all inhabit- 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 137 

ants of the country, regardless of race or religion. Three stations 
have been set up in Arab districts. 

A school Hygiene Department was established as early as 1919 to 
supervise the health of some thousands of youngsters annually. 
Hadassah's war on trachoma the eye disease which once afflicted 
virtually every school child in Palestine proved startlingly effec- 
tive: today, die disease is practically non-existent. Whenever a 
child was absent from school two or more days he was visited by a 
Hadassah nurse. In this way, about 80 per cent of the homes were 
reached by Hadassah nurses for medical care. Hadassah was also 
instrumental in introducing anti-typhoid vaccination throughout 
the country. Also, as a further step toward restoring the sick and 
disabled to a normal existence, occupational therapy units have 
been established. 

One of Hadassah's most vital services has been that of assuming 
administrative responsibility for health work among the incoming 
refugees. A wide range of medical services was required. Tuber- 
culosis was high; dental conditions were extremely bad; and the 
mental state of many new arrivals posed a grave problem. Tuber- 
culosis preventoriums were opened in Nahariyah and in Gedera. 
Hundreds of pre-f abricated barracks were erected as field hospitals. 

When Hadassah's first training school for nurses, the Henrietta 
Szold School, was established in 1918, the idea of professional 
training for women in Palestine was totally new. Now there are 
nurses' training schools throughout the country. Hadassah was 
asked to coordinate teaching activities and to set up common, uni- 
fied standards. The library of the Nurses' Training School today 
is the outstanding professional library of its kind in the Middle East. 

Related to health activities is Hadassah's school lunch project. 
For many years, over 30,000 children were fed daily. In addition, 
the nutrition department acted in a supervisory capacity for in- 
stitutions requesting Hadassah's guidance in mass feeding problems. 
Hadassah also undertook to maintain and supervise playgrounds, 
clubs, kindergartens, summer and day camps. 

During the '20s, the population of Palestine was largely agricul- 
tural. Between 1933 and 1939, the refugees who fled from Europe 
were interested chiefly in industry and trade. Many new industries 
were started, thus changing the predominantly agricultural aspect 



138 THIS Is ISRAEL 

of the economy. The war accelerated the need for industrial 
growth, and the community began to consider the problem of 
vocational training. Around 1942, Hadassah founded the Brandeis 
Vocational Center with a Bureau of Vocational Guidance staffed 
by psychologists. In addition, the Alice Seligsberg Vocational 
High School for Girls was founded. This institution endeavored to 
combine a general secondary education with vocational training. 

In 1933, Henrietta Szold, then over seventy years old, organized 
the Youth Aliyah movement to bring Jewish children from Europe 
to Palestine. Hadassah became the American agency for Youth 
Aliyah. Most of the 30,000 children brought to Israel were war 
orphans; many had little or no schooling. Despite their harrowing 
experiences in concentration camps, problem cases did not exceed 
2.05 per cent of the total. 

Their rapid and smooth adjustment in Palestine was due mainly 
to the unique system of education and apprenticeship for agricul- 
tural life devised by Youth Aliyah. The system was worked out 
experimentally for the first hundred boys and girls who arrived 
from Germany in 1934 and 1935. The children were placed in 
groups of twenty to fifty, accompanied by an instructor- worker, 
who was with them for the two years of their education. The wel- 
fare of the children, however, was in the hands of the local com- 
munity. So well did the plan work that it was later applied to 
children from all the 41 countries represented. Today, some 20,000 
Youth Aliyah graduates are citizens of Israel and are to be found 
playing their part in the agricultural and national life of the nation. 
During World War II, a large proportion volunteered for service 
in the British Army. Over 2,000 (including 200 girls) were enrolled. 

The value of Hadassah's services rendered can hardly be over- 
estimated. For decades, it has operated a complete curative and 
preventive medical program, including public health and environ- 
mental sanitation. During the Arab-Israel War of 1948, more than 
90 per cent of all casualties in Jerusalem were cared for by Hadas- 
sah; in fact, nearly two-thirds of all the Israeli casualties in the 
country were treated by that organization. Hadassah doctors, 
surgeons, social service workers, and nurses worked 24 hours a day. 
In 25 years, Hadassah chapters have collected and sent more than 
thirty-seven million dollars to Israel At present, Hadassah main- 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 139 

tains three hospitals with 700 beds, 27 clinics and 34 "Mother and 
Child Care" stations. The ideal of Henrietta Szold has been real- 
ized; Hadassah has indeed been a blessing to hundreds of thousands 
of unfortunates. 

Hadassah is not, however, the only group that has contributed to 
Israel's medical and social welfare. The labor movement, too, has 
rendered valiant service and the Pioneer Women, auxiliary of 
Poale Zion, has made significant contributions. Kupat Holim, the 
workers' health insurance plan, maintains 14 hospitals, 810 dispen- 
saries, 10 convalescent homes and 165 infant welfare stations: its 
network of hospitals, clinics, and health stations throughout Israel 
employ a personnel of almost 6,000. Its services are extended to the 
Arabs and to members of workers' organizations not affiliated with 
Histadruth. 

These two organizations, Hadassah and Kupat Holim, laid the 
foundation of Israel's medical services. Thanks to the institutions 
founded and maintained by them, the Jewish community of Pal- 
estine has boasted one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the 
world and enjoys a life expectancy fully in accord with Western 
standards. 

Since the establishment of Israel, public health is the responsibil- 
ity of the Ministry of Health. It employs 380 doctors and 1900 
nurses, and runs 19 hospitals with 4,300 beds. 

A special Health Service for new immigrants was set up, con- 
sisting of a chain of free clinics, hospitals and welfare centers. The 
vast majority of the new arrivals still had to remain in reception 
camps. In 1950, these were practically abolished; and Maabarot 
(transitional villages) were established for them. Most of the resi- 
dents of these settlements have become members of Histadruth's 
KupatHolim. 

With the assumption of health as a government function, the 
number of hospitals increased from 63 to 87, and the percentage of 
beds from 14.6% in 1948 to 41% at the end of 1953. 

Israel has some 3,500 doctors, or one doctor for every 470 inhab- 
itantsthe highest rate in the world (U.S. 1:710). Many of these 
physicians, refugees from Europe, are advanced in years. Thus, 
in a few years, there will be a shortage of physicians, a deficiency 
the Hadassah Medical School is trying to remedy. There are now 



140 THIS Is ISRAEL 

369 Mother and Child Care centers throughout the country. In 
1949, the infant mortality rate was 52 per 1,000 live births; in 1953 
it was 35.8 (in contrast to 144 of every 1,000 in 1922), next to New 
Zealand, the lowest in the world. Even among the Arab popula- 
tion there has been a favorable reaction in this respect. 

Several widely prevalent diseases have been given special atten- 
tion. Despite the high percentage of active tuberculosis since 1948, 
preventive measures have kept the incidence of TB down to about 
the same as in countries with the lowest rate. Malaria, one of the 
most deadly endemic diseases in the Middle East, is fast becoming 
almost rare. In 1950, there were 3,011 cases; in 1953, only 390. The 
Ministry of Health also maintains five mental hospitals. Govern- 
ment medical and health services are available to all citizens, Jews 
and Arabs alike. On the latter particularly, the improved health 
standards have made a startling social impact. 

5. Farm and Factory 

Agriculture has played a unique role in Israel's history, for it 
was primarily through resettlement of the land that the Jewish 
national revival was brought about. As far back as 1870, an agri- 
cultural school was established at Mikveh Israel, and, in the en- 
suing years, new agricultural villages were founded. By 1889, there 
were 22 rural settlements in different parts of Palestine. 

Despite the fact that for centuries Jews had been by compul- 
siontown dwellers, they succeeded in developing a sound basic 
agricultural program in Palestine within three generations. Today, 
out of a population of 1,717,834, more than 500,000 Jews live on 
the land. 

In 1948, a new period of agricultural development began. Greatly 
increased immigration called for more intensive production. The 
government immediately initiated a four-fold program: 1) redemp- 
tion of waste lands; 2) preparation and settlement of new agri- 
cultural areas; 3) training new farmers; and 4) increased produc- 
tion through irrigation and modern methods. 

The greatest problem confronting the authorities was to persuade 
former town-dwellers to settle on the land. Only 0.8% of the im- 
migrants had any knowledge of farm work. An educational pro- 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 141 

gram, including technical training, had to be set up. Both the kib- 
butzim and the moshavim were helpful in winning workers and in 
training them. The success of the Government's program is at- 
tested by the fact that 20% of all new immigrants are now settled 
on the land. By 1953, some 3,000 urban families had been drawn to 
farming. Due to these efforts, the area under cultivation increased 
from 1,650,000 dunams in 1948 to 3,550,000 dunams in 1954 (4 
dunams = lacre). 

The settlement of these new areas also involved unusual prob- 
lems. Underdeveloped areas such as Western Galilee, the Jerusalem 
corridor, and the Negev had to be developed quickly. Extensive 
preparatory work was necessary: roads had to be laid, irrigation 
planned, housing and equipment provided. Soil amelioration had 
to be attempted and experimental sowings undertaken. In the first 
three years of mass settlement, 3 1 new villages were founded in the 
once sparsely populated Jerusalem Corridor, 56 in the South and 
in the Negev. From May 1948 to September 1953, some 327 new 
settlements were organized, many more than were founded during 
the previous sixty years of Zionist reconstruction. Their share in 
the total production was about 25%; they held 27% of the coun- 
try's dairy cows and 30% of the draught animals. 

Of the Arab population of 179,000, more than 140,000 are em- 
ployed directly or indirectly on the land. There are 14,500 Arab- 
owned farms, not including the Bedouins, whose farming activities 
comprise another 3,100 units. Tremendous efforts have been made 
to improve agricultural conditions among the Arabs. The Ministry 
of Agriculture employs 18 experts who work exclusively with 
them. 

The major aim is, of course, to render Israel as nearly self-suffi- 
cient as possible. This can be accomplished only by widespread 
irrigation. Within the last few years, rapid progress has been made. 
Through the construction of regional waterworks, the irrigated 
area has been increased from 230,000 dunams in 1948 to 650,000 
dunams in 1954. The total area under cultivation amounted to al- 
most 4,000,000 dunams. 

Not all crops can be grown successfully. The government has 
been experimenting with cotton and flax in the Negev, Three ma- 
jor industrial crops, already beyond the stage of experimentation, 



142 THIS Is ISRAEL 

are assuming increasing importance sugar beets, oil crops, and to- 
bacco. Within five years, Israel will probably be self-sufficient in 
sugar production. The most important oil crop grown is the 
groundnut. Tobacco is so extensively produced that it may soon be 
exported. 

Wheat production is still insufficient; maize and other cereals are 
being added. However, the nation is quite self-sufficient in vege- 
tables. Some thought is being given to canning for export. 

Citrus fruits constitute Israel's most important fruit crop; they 
also form the country's largest single export item. "Jaffa" oranges 
are in constant demand in Europe. The planting of new groves is 
increasing annually, and industry is more and more being mecha- 
nized. Exports now reach over 7,000,000 cases. In fact, the sub- 
tropical climate encourages the raising of a great variety of fruits. 
Plums and apples are now being grown, in addition to the oranges, 
lemons, olives, grapes, and figs long under cultivation. 

Until recently, cattle were raised mainly for milk. The number 
of dairy cattle rose from 32,450 in 1947 to 80,100 in 1953. Milk pro- 
duction increased 50%. Efforts are now being made to raise cattle 
for beef production. Natural pastures are being developed in the 
South and in the Negev. It is expected that 10,000 head of cattle 
for beef may be raised annually. There are also 85,000 head of sheep 
and 108,000 goats. 

To meet the serious problem of reviving Israel's waste lands, the 
Government Soil Conservation Department conducted a land uti- 
lization survey, mapping and defining the general grades of land 
for exploitation. 

A valuable part of the Israel diet is fish. There is sea fishing, lake 
fishing, and pond fishing. Since the establishment of the state, the 
fishing fleet has doubled. Lake fishing, too, has continued to ex- 
pand. Some 35,000 dunams of fish ponds, stocked chiefly with carp, 
contribute to the feeding of Israel's people. 

The topography of the land has been changed by the many 
ponds and even more so perhaps by the wide-scale afforestation. 
Under a national tree-planting program, more than 15 million 
saplings have been planted in six years. 

Reflecting the growth of agriculture, there has been an amaz- 
ing increase in farm machinery. In 1948, there were 681 tractors; 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 143 

five years later, there were 3,500. The number of combines, drills, 
and balers has increased four-fold. 

Israel, indeed, despite overwhelming difficulties, has made* gigan- 
tic strides in increasing its agricultural production. The most sig- 
nificant figure is the anticipated three-fold increase in irrigated land 
from 16.4% in 1954 to the 51.8% envisioned by 1960. 

Although Palestine was always a land of agriculture, some forms 
of industry stem back to ancient times. However, these activities 
were confined largely to the production of consumer goods for 
local consumption. In 1921, there were only 4,750 persons em- 
ployed in industry; by 1937, the number had risen to 27,000. Dur- 
ing the period of the Mandate, industrial development was seri- 
ously obstructed by the fact that Palestine had no protective cus- 
toms tariff and thus became a dumping ground for manufactured 
goods from all over the world. 

With the establishment of Israel, a new era in industry began. 
First, the government sought to attract foreign investment capital 
for the creation of basic industries to supply local needs. It was 
hoped that, with the export of manufactured goods, currency 
would be earned to pay for imported raw materials. The rapid ex- 
pansion of industry is reflected by the number of workers, which 
rose from 80,000 in 1949 to 123,000 in 1953. Exports increased from 
9.8 million dollars to 34 million dollars. Industry now constitutes 
over 26 per cent of the national income. 

Greatest increases in the value of production are shown in the 
following industries: foods, metal and machinery, construction 
materials, woodwork, textiles, printing and paper, clothing, chemi- 
cals, leather and electricity. 

In 1950, the Knesset passed the **Law for the Encouragement of 
Capital Investments." By December 31, 1953, there were 408 new 
"approved" enterprises in production with investments of 34,700,- 
000 Israel pounds local capital and 56,000,000 Israel pounds foreign 
capital. The Israel Government Development Budget is the princi- 
pal instrument for investment in industry. Over 92% of the indus- 
trial enterprises are found in the private investment sector; the re- 
mainder belong to cooperatives. 

One of the first aims of the government was the development of 
primary industries based on local raw materials. The discovery of 



144 THIS Is ISRAEL 

natural mineral resources in the Negev opened up new possibilities. 
Extensive exploitation of phosphates, potash, and sand for glass and 
ceramic clays is under way. Israel is already self-sufficient in phos- 
phate fertilizers, sulphuric acid, glass and ceramic products; as a 
matter of fact, some of these products are being exported. In addi- 
tion to the giant chemical plant of "Fertilizers and Chemicals" of 
Haifa, other plants are being constructed to manufacture ammonia, 
nitric acid, and a number of basic chemicals. A second plant, using 
Dead Sea salts and Negev phosphates, will produce bromides, soda 
ash and phosphoric acid. Considerable reserves of iron, copper 
and manganese have also been discovered. 

Electricity is provided by two companies: the Palestine Electric 
Company and the Jerusalem Electric and Public Service Corpora- 
tion. By 1957, it is expected, expansion will reach 420,000 kilowatt 
hours through the enlargement of existing power stations and the 
erection of entirely new plants, the Jordan canal power project in 
the north and the Darom power station in the south. 

Almost all electric appliances are either manufactured or as- 
sembled locally. In 1952, the assembly of Philco refrigerators in 
Israel was begun; and, in 1953, electric washing machines made 
their first appearance. Most of these are exported. 

The metal industry is now able to supply almost all domestic 
consumer needs. A steel rolling plant was built in 1953. There has 
also been a steady increase in the machine-building industry. 

Through the mass immigration a phenomenal rise took place in 
the manufacture of building materials cement, stone, gravel, lime, 
plaster, bricks, and tile. Cement is one of the country's biggest 
items. In 1949, Israel's only cement factory, near Haifa, had an an- 
nual capacity of 300,000 tons. Modernization increased its capac- 
ity to 450,000 tons. Today a second plant in Ramleh produces 
300,000 tons; and a third, in the Jerusalem corridor, has a capacity 
of 250,000 tons a year. The United States has ordered a million tons 
for the construction of U.S. military bases in Spain. 

The local glass industry received a tremendous impetus with the 
discovery of large deposits of glass sands in the Negev. 

One of the oldest and best established industries in Israel is that of 
textiles. Most of the concerns are small. Cotton, linen, rayon mate- 
rials, as well as finished clothing items and hosiery are produced. 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 145 

Food industries employ over 20,000 workers. Outstanding prod- 
ucts are flour, chocolate, candy, fruit juices, jams and preserved 
fruits. Wine is one of the country's oldest products, most of it being 
consumed locally. 

Following citrus fruits, cut diamonds and polished diamonds are 
Israel's second biggest export item. The industry was established 
during World War II. In 1953, 146,804 carats, valued at $12,712,- 
000, were exported; and of these, 90% went to the United States. 

The chemical industry, which employs 3,500 workers, is based 
on the unlimited resources of potash, bromine and other salts in the 
Dead Sea, the phosphate quarries of the Negev, and the petroleum 
refineries of Haifa. 

A new industry is the manufacture of paper. Since 1954, all 
Israel's newspapers have used local newsprint. The manufacture of 
plastics, too, is new. 

Even the automobile industry is represented. Kaiser-Frazer of 
Israel began production in April, 1951; by 1954, over 6,000 vehicles 
had been produced. They are exported chiefly to Turkey, Finland, 
Norway, Sweden, Iceland and France. Two large tire factories 
produce over 100,000 tires annually. 

Three industrial crops, apart from fruits and vegetables for 
canning sugar beets, oil crops, and tobacco are exploited locally. 
Rapid progress has been made in all industrial areas, but for many 
years to come, Israel will need imports. To pay for them, exports 
will have to increase. Fortunately, a steady rise has been shown. 
Whereas in 1949 they amounted to $11,790,000, they had reached 
$34,775,000 in 1953. New industries have been started; older indus- 
tries have been able to expand and to produce exportable surpluses. 
More and more raw materials are becoming available. Israel's in- 
dustry still has a long and difficult road to travel, but the most 
serious obstacles have been overcome. 

6. Israel's Cultural Life 

In the cultural forms achieved in Israel, the traditions of an an- 
cient religious past mingle with modern social thought. Advanced 
techniques are employed to express age-old ideals. Men and women 
from Eastern and Central Europe, from Yemen, Iraq and Morocco, 



146 THIS Is ISRAEL 

and native-born Sabras are working together to create a common 
culture. 

The most important single consolidating force in Israel is the He- 
brew language, refashioned to meet the needs of modern life. With- 
in a comparatively brief period, it has established itself as the liv- 
ing tongue of a living people. To aid the many adults in acquiring 
the language rapidly, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the 
Jewish Agency and Histadruth set up special classes. The press 
and the radio helped in the spread of the language; compulsory 
army service trained the young in its daily use. The Academy of 
the Hebrew Language, consisting of fifteen life members, renders 
official decisions with reference to grammar, spelling and pro- 
nunciation. The Academy, established by law in 1953, succeeded 
the Hebrew Language Committee, which had been founded by 
the indefatigable Eliezer Ben Yehuda. 

The firm establishment of the language has gone hand in hand 
with the development of Hebrew literature. The majority of the 
writers occupy themselves with recollections of the Diaspora and 
impressions of their new environment. Among outstanding authors 
are: Yosef Agnon who portrays contemporary life in Israel; Ger- 
shon Schofmann, master of the short story; Dvora Baron who 
writes realistic studies of place and character; Yehuda Burla who 
interprets the Oriental Jews, and Haim Hazaz who writes about the 
Yemenite Jews. There are also many poets, whose works appear 
chiefly in the literature supplements. 

Israel publishes an unusually large number of books in proportion 
to the size of the population. In 1953, no fewer than 977 Hebrew 
books were issued, including fiction, philosophy, poetry, science, 
history and translations. Of the 205 books of fiction, 70 were 
original. The Bible is published by several concerns. There is also 
a comprehensive 20-volume Hebrew encyclopedia covering all 
fields of human knowledge. The wide selection of world literature 
is enlarged year by year. 

The Israelis are voracious readers. Lending libraries, containing 
over a million volumes, have been set up all over the country. Book- 
mobiles are used to reach immigrants and settlers in distant areas. 
A central library for the blind is maintained in Natanya. 

The most extensive collections of books are those of the Knesset, 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE l^h 

the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Municipal Library of Tel 
Aviv, and the nation-wide chain of Histadruth. 

The Israelis are also eager theater-goers, attending the produc- 
tions of the three dramatic companies: Habimah (the oldest), Ohel, 
and the Chamber Theater. There are also an opera company and 
two companies for revues and operettas. All have their headquar- 
ters in Tel Aviv; only Habimah, formed in 1918, has its own 
theater. The theater receives little government aid, relying chiefly 
for support on the public, which is the largest mass audience (in 
relation to the population) in the world. The companies are owned 
and managed as cooperatives. 

While there may be considerable dramatic talent, there is even 
more musical talent. Equally fortunate is the enthusiasm for good 
music which is to be found among all classes in Israel. The Israel 
Philharmonic Orchestra, whose first concert in 1936 was conducted 
by Arturo Toscanini, today must satisfy the demands of almost 15,- 
000 regular subscribers. The Jerusalem and the Haifa orchestras 
also broadcast over Kol Israel (Israel Broadcasting Service) so 
that dwellers in remote settlements are reached. In the latter, music 
plays an important role. Most of them have either a choral or an 
instrumental group of their own, and folk-dancing is a favorite 
past-time. A unique event which has drawn Jewish music lovers 
from all over the world to Israel is the "Zimriah" Song Festival, 
held for the first time in the summer of 1952, Folk song and the 
dance are among the most popular expressions of the people's crea- 
tive genius. 

Creative art in Israel is characterized by a continuation of the 
old as well as by a search for the new. Various groups and trends 
have emerged in Israeli painting. The leading school of art is the 
Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, founded in 1906. Monumental 
sculpture has advanced slowly. On the other hand, considerable 
artistic creativity is displayed in silver and copper, ceramics, hand- 
weaving, embroidery and rugs. 

The cultural activity of Israel, however, is most striking in the 
newspaper and magazine field. Every thousand inhabitants buy 235 
copies of daily papers, and most Israelis read two papers a day. Of 
course, it must be pointed out that the average paper contains only 
four pages on weekdays and eight to ten on Fridays. No papers 



148 THIS Is ISRAEL 

appear on the Sabbath. There are, at present, 23 dailies, most of 
them published in Tel Aviv, but with a country-wide circulation. 
Twenty are morning papers; three appear in the afternoon. Lan- 
guages represented are: Hebrew 15, Arabic 1, English 1, French t, 
German 2, Hungarian 1, and Bulgarian 2. Most papers contain a 
section entitled "Hebrew Column for Beginners" to enable new 
immigrants to read the day's news. In addition to newspapers, 221 
periodicals are published in Hebrew and other languages. 

Finally, there is Kol Israel ("Voice of Israel") which is on the air 
for seventeen hours daily. There are six regular news services every 
day in Hebrew, three in Arabic, two in English, and one in French. 
Two hours are devoted to Arabic programs. In the evening there 
are additional programs in Yiddish, French, Ladino, Rumanian, 
Hungarian, Turkish and Persian. Kol Zion Lagola ("Voice of Zion 
to the Diaspora") broadcasts daily short wave programs in He- 
brew, in Yiddish, in English and in French to Europe, Africa, and 
the Americas. 

It is evident, then, that this small land displays a remarkable cul- 
tural activity in all fields, in several of them far above the average 
of Western nations. A new, vibrant instrument has been added to 
the symphony of nations. 

7. The Promised Land Restored 

, For thousands of years the Jews have looked toward Zion as the 
center of their cultural and religious life; for centuries they longed 
for a restoration of the Kingdom of David. Finally, in 1948, after 
almost super-human efforts and intense struggles, the state of Israel 
was established on the soil of ancient Palestine* ' 

To the Jewish people, Israel has become 4 land of personal free- 
dom; there Jews are a majority and a ruling group, and as such may 
determine their own destinies and know security. Under the guid- 
ance of fearless leaders and men of vision, they have founded a 
democratic state, a new nation, a homeland for the oppressed of 
all lands. With indefatigable zeal and unquenchable enthusiasm in 
the face of seemingly insuperable obstacles, they have conquered a 
barren, malaria-ridden region, where formerly a few hundred 
thousands eked out a miserable existence and have transformed it 



ISRAEL: A NEW WAY OF LIFE 149 

into a fertile, productive land able to support a million or more 
persons in comfort. What has been accomplished is in truth miracu- 
lousindeed, unique in the history of man. 

This achievement is of vital significance to the Jew; it is hardly 
less meaningful to the Christian and the Moslem. For the Christian, 
Palestine is still the Holy Land. It is there that, for two thousand 
years, countless churches, shrines, convents, monasteries, schools 
and missions have been maintained with reverent care and have 
created a cultural investment of Christianity in the Holy Land that 
is incalculable. Hence the Christian, too, must rejoice that this land 
has been restored to f ruitfulness, that its towns throb with industry, 
that a new beacon of hope and confidence in man's indomitable 
faith has been lit. He must be glad that this people which has suf- 
fered so unspeakably at the hands of the Gentiles has at last come 
into its own. And for the Moslems, who share its blessings through 
the higher standard of living, it ought to be an example of what can 
be accomplished in the entire Middle East socially, politically, 
economically, and spiritually. Collaboration between Jew and 
Arab could change this area into one of the most productive in the 
world. 



VIII 

Israel's Struggle for Survival 



1. Persistent Problems 

TOURISTS and trained observers, experts and laymen, friends 
and enemies of Zionism who have visited Israel recently have in- 
variably expressed amazement at the remarkable achievements of 
the new state. Their comments range from grudging praise to ex- 
travagant panegyrics. 

Despite remarkable progress, the much-acclaimed "miracle of 
Israel" also has its darker sides. The young nation is beset by many 
difficulties and problems so grave that some Middle East author- 
ities doubt whether Israel will be able to survive. 

These difficulties are economic, political, ethnic, cultural and 
religious. The problems are internal and external; they are na- 
tional and international. Rarely has a new nation confronted so 
many obstacles to its development, 

2. The Lack of Peace 

The basic problem, of course, is that of restoring peace in the 
Middle East. The present armed truce with constant border inci- 
dents cannot continue without ultimately flaring up into war. 
Israel will not be able to enjoy territorial security and to develop its 
resources until permanent peace with the Arabs has been attained. 
Israel's tremendous efforts to maintain strong military defenses are 
an enormous drain on the human and material resources of the 



ISRAEL'S STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL 151 

little state. Peace is equally important to the Arab states, for the 
basic problems of the Middle East, i.e., illiteracy, poverty and dis- 
ease, cannot be solved until Jews and Arabs cooperate peacefully, 
or at least cease from a campaign of active hostility. Fundamen- 
tally, this bitter enmity is due to the absolute refusal of the Arabs 
to recognize Israel as a state, and to Israel's refusal to accept a 
policy of repatriation of former Palestinian Arabs. 

The lack of peace affects adversely all endeavors to establish a 
stable, independent economy. Israel has made heroic efforts to do 
so. Unskilled immigrants have been trained to be productive work- 
ers, the mineral resources of the country have been developed, arid 
lands have been reclaimed, cities and villages have been planned, 
new industries have been established. Despite this, Israel still suf- 
fers from an unfavorable trade balance. In 1952-53 Israel earned 
only 20% of the foreign currency she expended. She is only 30% 
self-sufficient in food; only about 15% of her Jewish population is 
engaged in agriculture. The only hopeful sign is that conditions 
have improved from year to year and that Israel has not defaulted 
on its obligations. 

T^hrough the efforts of the Arab League, the economic boycott 
of Israel lias become progressively tighter. The fact that Israel has 
a consuming population of only 1,718,000 in comparison with 40,- 
000,000 in the Arab world, points up the gravity of the situation. 

3 . Cultural and Religious Integration 

Of Israel's internal difficulties the most serious is probably that 
of cultural integration: it is, essentially, the task of making one 
people with an indigenous culture out of the different tribes from 
all parts of the globe. Wonders have been accomplished, but the 
path has not been smooth because the cultural ideals themselves 
have been questioned. 

Israel's leaders have been unable to determine clearly and satis- 
factorily what role religion that is, Judaism is to play in the life 
of the people. This question involves the essential character of the 
state and its very foundations. Religious Jews in general and Zion- 
ists in particular think of Israel as the fulfillment of Biblical proph- 
ecies. It is the "in-gathering of the exiles," the end of the Diaspora, 



152 THIS Is ISRAEL 

the restoration of Zion. According to Genesis, Canaan was prom- 
ised "unto thy seed." Palestine is the land of the Jews, given them 
by God himself. Most believing Christians are ready to accept this 
point of view. However, it has been pointed out that "thy seed" 
would include the Arabs, since Ishmael, their reputed ancestor, was 
also a son of Abraham. It has been indicated, too, that the "return" 
was fulfilled centuries ago, when the Temple was rebuilt. No 
prophfecy of a second return to Zion exists. 

Curiously enough, the opposition to this concept comes not only 
from non-Jews and enemies of Zionism, but from a section of the 
Israelis themselves. Among the religious Jews there is an ultra- 
orthodox group that regards Israel as a godless creation of worldly 
politicians, as a materialistic state, and not as the Holy Zion fore- 
told by the prophets. Also, it regards the secular use of Hebrew as 
a profanation, since the sacred tongue is to be used only in prayer 
and in the temple. 

Because of these extreme points of view, Israel's leaders have ex- 
perienced great difficulty in distinguishing the ideal of a theocracy 
from that of a secular state. Actually, Israel is a Jewish state. The 
ancient Talmudic precepts are the law of the land for all Jews, at 
least as far as their personal status is concerned. Only orthodox 
rabbis are not regarded as laymen. Christians and Moslems are per- 
mitted to maintain their own religious status. However, civil 
and criminal codes are based on Ottoman, Mandatory and British 
Common law* 

^ t The government, then, is in the difficult position of maintaining a 
Western democracy for its secular, non-religious (and even anti- 
religious) citizens, while upholding for the orthodox the essentially 
religious concept of Israel as the "ingathering of the exiles." The 
sentimental power of this ideal cannot be over-estimated; even the 
secular Jew is moved by itJFor the religious Jews it means that 
Israel is the kingdom v of GocT on earth/ There seem to be many 
devout believers throughout the land/ There are four hundred 
synagogues in Jerusalem alone. On the other hand, the religious 
parties have won only 12% of the elections for the Knesset. 

There are, then, everywhere, Israelis filled with religious zeal, 
with an almost fanatical devotion to Zion restored. There are also 
those who are disillusioned, in fact, so disappointed that they want 



ISRAEL'S STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL 153 

to get out. Actually, the number who have left, fifty thousand, is 
small, compared with the eight hundred thousand who have im- 
migrated in the past seven years. The emigrants are shrugged off 
by the convinced Zionists as failures, lacking in stamina and reveal- 
ing themselves as unsuitable material for the pioneer state. In any 
event, one must not overlook the extreme hardships imposed on 
many of the new arrivals, some of whom were accustomed to the 
comforts of Western urban life. Rather it is astounding how many 
of the former city-dwellers have gone into the settlements and have 
devoted themselves with a positive passion to the up-building of the 
land. That some have been disappointed, that they have not been 
able to bear the rigors of toil in the blazing sun is not surprising.^ 

4. The Zionist Outside Israel 

More embarrassing is the position of the Zionist who has never 
gone to Israel and has no intention of settling there. The majority 
of Jews lives outside the border of Israel. Twice as many live in 
New York alone. This, too, is something about which ardent 
Zionists are extremely sensitive. Ben-Gurion entered into a hot 
dispute with American Zionists about this very question when, in 
1951 in New York, he uncompromisingly defined a Zionist as "a 
person who settles in Israel." Later he said he knew not a single 
Zionist leader from the West who had settled in Israel since the 
establishment of the state. Satirically he remarked that the older 
Zionist problem was that of a people without a country, but now 
it almost seemed like a Jewish state without a people to settle it. 

In answer, a number of outstanding American Zionists pointed 
out that they could serve Israel best here. A few admitted that "life 
in Israel is not for us." In any case, Ben-Gurion has made many 
Zionists abroad feel uncomfortable and has posed the difficult 
question: What should be the relationship of the Jew still in the 
Diaspora to the state of Israel? Various answers have been given 
and considerable bitterness has been engendered, especially in the 
United States where a not insignificant and rather disproportion- 
ately influential body of Jews continues to reject Zionism. 

The question goes even deeper; it challenges the whole idea of 
the Jewishness of the new state. There are young, intelligent Sabras 



154 THIS Is ISRAEL 

who tend to repudiate the idea of the Diaspora and its attendant 
implications of Jewishness. They seek to develop a new national 
identity one that will include a wider geographic and ethnic area 
free from the ideals of Zionism. They envision an autochthonous 
pre-exilic culture which would establish a larger "Land of the 
Euphrates." These Canaanites, as they are known, are not numeri- 
cally strong, but they exert considerable influence through their 
magazine, "Aleph." 

Extremely critical of the government, they point out that only 
a Jew has an automatic right to settle in the country; that no pro- 
vision is made for civil marriage, divorce and burial; that orthodox 
Judaism has been imposed on the nation. 

Indeed, most of the younger Israelis are opposed to orthodoxy 
and to. Zionism. They believe that the ethnic-religious basis of Israel 
is the chief obstacle to a complete realization of Western democ- 
racy. The 175,000 Arabs, being non-Jews, are unconsciously forced 
into a second-class citizenship, even though they have been given 
voting rights. Although all citizens of the state are known as Is- 
raelis, only Jews who have a religious connection with Judaism are 
considered true representatives of Israel. 

There are, then, two opposing movements in Israel: one to in- 
tensify Jewishness, the other to minimize it. But even those who 
are ardently Jewish do not all adhere to common ideals. There are 
two Chief Rabbis: an Ashkenazi and a Sephardi. There are 
the Oriental and the Occidental, two aspects which are reflected in 
differences of language, religious ritual and customs. There is no 
doubt, however, that the Oriental elements are in the minority and 
that Israel has definitely and consciously assumed the characteris- 
tics of Western civilization. 

5. The Arab Minority 

-' 'The most disturbing internal problem, however, is that of the 
Arab minority. These 175,000 non-Jews form about one-tenth of 
the population and include some 40,000 Christians. They have 
representatives in the Knesset. They are admitted to the labor 
unions. Special schools with Arab teachers have been provided and 
Arabic is employed as second national language. Only in Israel 



ISRAEL'S STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL 155 

and in Syria do Arab women have the vote and do Arab children 
attend kindergartens. Still there is much dissatisfaction among the 
Arab minority: they claim they are not treated as equals. 
, Identification cards of Arabs are marked with a "B." Their move- 
ments in the country are not free; permits must be secured even for 
short journeys. Every area in which Arabs are a majority is under 
military rule. Arab property has been seized for security reasons; 
entire villages have been destroyed. In Galilee alone there are 40,- 
000 displaced Arabs. The attitude seems to be that no Arab can be 
completely trusted. Security regulations are being relaxed as rapid- 
ly as possible, say the Israelis. 

Another major grievance centers about educational opportuni- 
ties. The Arabs claim that their schools are the poorest, textbooks 
scarce, and teachers unqualified. Few Arab students attend the He- 
brew University, due, possibly, to economic reasons. The answer 
to these complaints may be that in so young a country inequities 
in the schools are unavoidable. Israeli authorities insist that con- 
scious discrimination, as the Arabs claim, is not a fact. The state 
does provide for them, but the Arabs oppose co-education and the 
fuU',participation by women in civic affairs. 

The Arabs also charge that they are not adequately represented 
in the government. Aside from the teachers, there are less than 200 
employed in government jobs. In the Knesset of 140 members there 
are eight Arabs. An independent Arab party may not be formed. 

Many Arabs, who would leave Israel if they could sell their prop- 
erty and take the proceeds with them, feel "unwanted, apprehen- 
sive and resentful" They are in an unhappy situation, for their co- 
religionists abroad despise them for remaining in Palestine and at- 
tempting to get along with the Jews. Many, on preaching concili- 
ation, have been assassinated by Moslem fanatics. 

That the Arab minority constitutes a grave problem cannot be 
denied. There is always the silent pressure of those who fled, the 
300,000 Arab refugees who live chiefly in camps a short distance 
beyond the border. The threat of an organized fifth column within 
the state is a real one and has sometimes led to stringent and ir- 
ritating measures. 

Israeli authorities have broken the power of the exorbitant Arab 
landlord. The dictatorial rights of the muktar, or village headman, 



156 THIS Is ISRAEL 

have been reduced. Efforts to introduce up-to-date agricultural 
methods, modern hygiene and medical practice have met with 
stubborn opposition. 

Some observers believe that even greater efforts could be made 
to win the confidence of the Arab minority to prove that the state 
wants it to stay. Among such evidences of good faith would be 
permitting broken Arab familiessome members of whom live in 
camps to be reunited. Also, some of the more unrealistic boun- 
daries could be rectified by ceding completely Arabic areas to 
Jordan, such as the "little Triangle" containing 30 villages. That 
would provide for 20,000 or more refugees. Western Galilee, north 
of Haifa, which was given to the Arabs by United Nations resolu- 
tions, could be restored to them. This area could possibly support 
100,000 Arabs who are now refugees in Lebanon. That part of 
New Jerusalem which was almost exclusively Arab might be re- 
turned without denying Israel possession of the major portion of 
the New Gty. This would take care of 30,000 Arabs. These acts 
might change the attitude of the Arab minority from one of resent- 
ment to one of loyalty and cooperation. It would be a major vic- 
tory for Israel and for democratic procedures. 

Israeli authorities point out that they have done more to raise 
standards than any Arab country has done. This is true and un- 
doubtedly arouses the hostility of the Arab effendis who resent 
the extension of liberties to their exploited serfs. Israeli officials 
claim that the difficulties with the Arab minority, many of whom 
are ready to cooperate with their Jewish neighbors, would be 
solved, if the Arab states would relax their intransigent attitude. 

6. Israel Versus the Arab World 

Indeed, most of Israel's woes are caused by the bitter hostility of 
the Arab states on her borders. It is the blockade which saddles 
Israel with a heavy military burden, deprives her of urgently 
needed raw materials, complicates her relations with the rest of the 
world, and prevents her from establishing a sound economy. 

The chasm between Jew and Arab is deep and wide, despite all 

attempts to bridge it. Their respective positions majr be stated 



ISRAEL'S STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL 157 

Israel says: 

"Our title to the land is written in the Bible. It is a God-given, 
holy land. The land acquired by us immediately before the estab- 
lishment of Israel was bought from the Arabs at exorbitant prices. 
The Partition Resolution gave us legal title to larger areas. Resent- 
ing this award, the Arabs attacked us, making no secret of their 
intention to drive us out of Palestine into the sea. In a successful 
war we gained more land which we feel we have a right to hold. 
The boundaries of the state are obviously fantastic and must be ad- 
justedbut not at our expense and to our loss. 

"As for the refugee problem, it is not offmr making. It is unfor- 
tunate that hundreds of thousands of Arabs live in camps. The 
Arab states, if they wished, could absorb them. It is impossible for 
us to re-admit them to Israel since they are our sworn enemies. 

"Repeatedly we have offered to negotiate the differences, but 
the Arabs have refused, denying even the de -facto existence of the 
state of Israel. We have worked hard and have provided a haven 
for hundreds of thousands of homeless Jews who suffered unspeak- 
able tortures in Europe. We have turned the desert into a garden. 
Within the space of a few years we have made land arable which 
the Arabs, during their ownership of over a century, entirely ne- 
glected. 

"We are eager to get along with the Arabs, to cooperate with 
them for mutual benefit. So far they have rebuffed our offers of 
friendship." 

The Arabs say: 

"The Jews are an alien element in an area which has been Arab 
since time immemorial. They were a small minority which caused 
no difficulty until the rise of political Zionism. The Zionists sought 
to establish a Jewish state and to crowd out the native population. 
They regarded the Balf our Declaration as a legal tide of Palestine, 
although that document specifically states that the rights of the 
indigenous population were not to be interfered with. Further- 
more, England had no right to give away land which did not belong 
to her. The Zionists came in as conquerors. The Partition Resolu- 
tion under which Israel was created has no legal standing. Impar- 
tial observers pointed out at once that it was unrealistic and un- 
workable. 



158 THIS Is ISRAEL 

"The Jews established a sovereign state and drove out a native 
Arab population of over 800,000 who are now living as wretched 
refugees in squalid camps. Their farms, their homes, their property 
were seized without compensation by Israel. Ninety per cent of the 
area of the new state is legally the property of Arabs who were 
dispossessed. 

"The Arab minority of 175,000 remaining in Israel is treated as 
second-class citizens. If Israel really wants peace, she must recog- 
nize the grave injustice she has done the Arabs. She must recognize 
the principle of repatriation and must agree to have the boundaries 
re-defined with original Partition Plan boundaries assumed. Prop- 
erty of the Arabs must be restored and the resolutions of the 
United Nations governing the situation must be accepted." 

The feeling on both sides is extremely bitter. How to break the 
deadlock is the major problem of the Middle East. It is obvious 
that concessions must be made on both sides, concessions which 
may be painful, but which will lead to a healthy modus vivendi. 

7. Important Factors to Consider 

A glance at the map of the Middle East reveals the territorial 
insignificance of Israel compared with the vast expanse of the Arab 
world. The moral and material advantages, however, have been on 
the side of Israel, and this has unquestionably contributed to her 
survival. 

Despite the numerical preponderance of the Arabs, they are not 
united. Bitter rivalries and jealousies prevail among Arab political 
leaders. The governments of some Arab states are none too stable. 
The ruling classes fear the upheaval of the impoverished masses. So 
far the only concerted action they have agreed on is the economic 
boycott against Israel. 

Their threat to fight is not to be taken too seriously. During the 
World War and in their skirmishes against the Israelis, the Arab 
contingents proved to be indifferent, undisciplined fighters, as 
Lawrence of Arabia had noted a generation ago. Although greatly 
outnumbered, the Israelis fought with a courage and a conviction 
which the Arabs entirely lacked. 

And that idealism, that religious zeal, is the great strength of little 



ISRAEL'S STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL 159 

Israel. The Jews are building up and defending what is to them 
not just a given section of territory but their home, their Holy 
Land, their Zion for which their ancestors longed and prayed for 
two thousand years. They are determined to hold on to that hard- 
won land with fanatic zeal. The ancient zealots preferred to be 
killed to the last man, rather than yield to the Romans. That is 
Israel's great moral strength. 

Her material advantages are twofold: 1) her eager application 
of the latest technological procedures to develop every possible 
resource of her small territory, and 2) financial backing from 
abroad. These advantages the Arabs bitterly resent. They point out 
that Israel is a subsidized state, and, without funds from American 
and European Jews, could not survive. There is truth in this, but 
certainly no impartial observer will deny the right of co-religionists 
to aid their suffering brethren, especially when it is done in an 
idealistic and self-sacrificing manner. 

The Arabs resent the fact that the United States government was 
so eager to recognize Israel and to aid it. However, as has been 
pointed out repeatedly, our government has tried to be impartial 
in dealing with both sides. Indeed, Washington has been criticized 
severely by ardent Zionists because it has helped Aral) nations and 
has supplied them with war materials. The reason for this is, of 
course, the threat of Communism. United States foreign policy has 
been to strengthen the smaller nations in the Middle East that are 
geographically close to Russia. The Arab nations have certainly 
not been helped with a view to injuring Israel 

Again, Israel's small size makes Arab panic seem a trifle ridicu- 
lous. The one and a half million Jews in Israel need constitute 
neither an economic nor a cultural threat to the hundred million 
people of the Arab world. Quite the contrary: the two areas com- 
plement one another and cooperation between the two peoples 
would be an inestimable blessing to the entire Middle East 

8. Concessions to Be Made 

Suggestions for an amicable solution of the differences between 
Israel and the Arab states have been offered time and time again. 
The proposals made by outside observers are practically identical 
Essentially they are as follows; 



160 THIS Is ISRAEL 

If Israel wants peace, she must: 

1. accept the principle of repatriation and be ready to absorb 
about 100,000 Arab refugees; 

2. provide compensation for the property seized; 

3. remove all discriminatory measures against the Arab minority; 

4. rectify the most glaring inequities along the boundaries; and 

5. consider the possibility of internationalizing Jerusalem, except 
the buildings belonging directly to the Israeli government. 

The first four propositions would probably be acceptable to 
many Israeli authorities. The fifth, however, is opposed by both 
Israeli and Jordanian Arab. Neither want the city internationalized; 
each wants it entirely for himself. Perhaps here the third party the 
Christian, might step in and point out that his claim to the Holy 
City has not sufficiently been taken into consideration. One of the 
greatest affronts to the Arabs has been the act of the Israeli gov- 
ernment moving in to New Jerusalem with the assumption that 
that city is the capital of the new state. It is significant that the Eu- 
ropean powers still tacitly consider Tel Aviv the capital. The 
American and other foreign embassies are located in that city, not 
in Jerusalem. This matter of Jerusalem will be one of the most 
difficult issues to resolve, for both sides feel very strongly about it. 

If the Arabs want peace, they, in turn, must: 

1. recognize the state of Israel; 

2. immediately lift their economic boycott against Israel; and 

3. disband the refugee camps, absorbing the inmates in their own 
populations. 

After the more irritating reasons for armed hostility have been 
removed, the two sides may be able to develop policies leading 
to cooperation. Soon they would have to come to an understanding 
on matters pertaining to irrigation and water power projects. In a 
spirit of cooperation much can be done that will aid not only Israel 
but will help to improve the condition of millions of impoverished 
Arabs. 

One need not be excessively optimistic to cherish the belief 
that the above suggestions can be carried out. Dispassionate ob- 
servers of the situation believe there are plenty of responsible Arabs 



ISRAEL'S STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL 161 

who do not want the destruction of Israel. There is still a consider- 
able reservoir of good will that can be tapped. 

9. Israel's Great Opportunity 

Arnold Toynbee, the historian, points out that twice the West 
has moved into the East and failed. Eight centuries ago, the West 
entered the Middle East with the sword in one hand and the cross 
in the other. It was repulsed. Much later it moved in with its tech- 
nological achievements, but again the East rejected it. Philosophi- 
cally and religiously deeper than the West, the East seeks higher 
satisfactions for its spirit. "Miserable hungering millions can be 
fed and clothed, but more important are the claims of the human 
spirit. We will not barter our souls for automobiles and electric 
gadgets." 

Here is a splendid opportunity for Israel. The Jew is a Semite; 
Judaism came out of the East. Hebrew and Arabic are related 
tongues. Isaac and Ishmael were both the sons of Abraham. Is not 
the Jew, with his long sojourn in the West, his contributions to 
Western civilization, in the best position to act as a mediator? Can- 
not Israel produce the synthesis of Western democracy and Ori- 
ental philosophy, of European progress and Asiatic spirituality 
which is so much needed in the Middle East? Zion restored could 
realize the words of the prophet: "Not by might, not by power 
but by my spirit saith the Lord." Israel could become an example 
and a model to the surrounding peoples; in a spirit of enlightened 
cooperation and compassion it could fulfill the command: "Go 
forth and be a blessing! " 

- FINIS- 



Suggested Reading List 



'Palestine: History 
Hitti, Philip K.: History of Syria; including Lebanon and Palestine, 

New York, The Macmillan Company, 1951, 749 pp. 
Parkes, James: History of Palestine; 139 A.D. to Modern Times, 

New York, Oxford University Press, 1949, 391 pp. 

Palestine: Mandate 

Grossman, Richard H. S.: Palestine Mission, New York, Harper & 
Bros., 1947, 210 pp. 

Crum, Bartley C: Behind the Silken Curtain, New York, Simon & 
Schuster, 1947, 297 pp. 

Esco Foundation: Palestine, A Study of Jewish, Arab, and British 
Policies, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2 vols., 1380 pp. 

Hanna, Paul L,: British Policy in Palestine, Washington, D.C., 
American Council on Public Affairs, 1942, 214 pp. 

Joseph, Bernard: British Rule in Palestine, Washington, D.C, Pub- 
lic Affairs Press, 1948, 279 pp. 

The Arab Peoples 
Antonius, George: The Arab Awakening, Philadelphia, J. B. Lip- 

pincott Co., 1939, 471 pp. 
Hitti, Philip K.: History of the Arabs 9 London: Macmillan & Co,, 

1949, 271 pp. 
Iz^edin, Nejla: The Arab W0rM, Chicago, Henry Roguery Co., 1953, 

412pp. 

The Jewish People 

Ausubel, Nathan: Pictorial History of the Jewish People, New York, 
Crown Publishers, 1953, 346 pp. 



164 THIS Is ISRAEL 

Kertzer, Rabbi Morris N.: What Is a Jew? Cleveland and New 

York, World Publishing Co., 1952, 214 pp. 
Learsi, Rufus: Israel: A History of the Jewish People, Cleveland 

and New York, World Publishing Co., 1948, 715 pp. 
Parkes, James: End of an Exile: Israel, the Jews, and the Gentile 

World, New York, Library Publishers, 1954, 306 pp. 
Sachar, Abram Leon: History of the Jews, New York, Alfred A. 

Knopf, 1948, 436 pp. 

Israel: General 
Bilby, Kenneth: New Star in the Near East, New York, Doubleday 

and Co., 1950, 279 pp. 
Garcia-Granados, Jorge: The Birth of Israel: The Drama As I Saw 

It, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1948, 291 pp. 
Hurewitz, J. C.: The Struggle for Palestine, New York, W. W. 

Norton and Co., 1950, 404 pp. 
Koesder, Arthur: Promise and Fulfillment, New York, The Mac- 

millan Company, 1949, 335 pp. 
Learsi, Rufus: Fulfillment: The Epic Story of Zionism, Cleveland 

and New York, The World Publishing Co., 1951, 426 pp. 
St. John, Robt.: Tongue of the Prophets, New York, Doubleday & 

Co., 1952, 375 pp. 
Sugrue, Thomas: Watch For the Morning: The Story of Palestine's 

Jewish Pioneers and their Battle for the Birth of Israel, New 

York, Harper & Bros,, 1950, 304 pp. 
Voss, Carl Hermann: The Palestine Problem Today; Israel and its 

Neighbors, Boston, The Beacon Press, 1953, 84 pp. 

Israel: Economics and Political Structure 

de Gaury, Gerald: The New State of Israel, New York, Frederick A, 
Praeger, 1952, 260 pp. 

Hay, James B. and Barrekette, A. E.: T.V^d. on the Jordan, Wash- 
ington, D.C., Public Affairs Press, 1948, 114 pp. 

Lowdermilk, Walter Clay: Palestine: Land of Promise, New York, 
Harper & Bros., 1944, 244 pp. 

Nathan, Robert R.; Gass, Oscar; Creamer, Daniel: Palestine, Prob- 
lem and Promise, Washington, D.C., Public Affairs Press, 1946, 
675 pp. 

State of Israel: Facts and Figures, Israel Office of Information, 1955. 

Israel: Education 

Huebener, Theodore: Education in Israel, New York, "Modern 
Language Journal," XXXVII, No. 8, December, 1953. 



SUGGESTED READING LIST 165 

Nardi, Noah: Education in Palestine, 1920-1945, Washington, D.C., 
Zionist Organization of America, 1945, 255 pp. 

Israel: Travel 

Shepard, Judy, and Roscnfcld, Alvin: Ticket to Israel, New York, 
Rinehart & Co., 1952, 305 pp. 

United States Policy and the Near East 

Bingham, Jonathan B.: Shirtsleeve Diplomacy: Point Four in Ac- 
tion, New York, The John Day Company, 1954, 360 pp. 

Cookc, Heclley V.: Challenge and Response in the Middle East, 
New York, Harper & Bros., 1953, 310 pp. 

Friedrich, Carl J.: American Policy Towards Palestine, Washing- 
ton, D.C., Public Affairs Press, 1944, 106 pp. 

Hurewitz, J. C.: Middle East Dilemmas, New York, Harper & Bros., 
1953,450pp. 

McDonald, James G.: My Mission in Israel, Simon & Schuster, 1951, 
400 pp. 

Speiser, E. A.: The United States and the Near East, Cambridge, 
Harvard University Press, 1950, 283 pp. 



Index 



Abdullah, 92 

Abraham, 1, 2, 36, 39, 62, 

160 

Abu Bekr, 23, 25, 27 
Achad ha-Am, 47 
Acre, 30, 33, 36, 37, 38, 42, 

117 

Alexander, 11 
Aliyah, 83, 84, 138 
Anti-Semitism, 47, 49 
Arabic, 27, 29, 60, 61, 62, 

Arabs/ 21, 49, 53, 56, 57, 
65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 
73 75 76, 86,87, 88,89, 
90, 91, 96, 106, 109, 114, 
ll!>, 118, 129, 135, 141, 
149, 151, 154-160 
Ashkenazi, 42, 154 
7 

, 9, 11, 19 
, 26, 29, 30, 33, 34, 
05 
Balfour, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 

Barilla, 17, 18, 111 ^ 
Bedouins, 1, 2, 25, 29, 75, 

76, 106, 107, 141 
Beersheba, 106, 107 
Ben-Gunon, David, 65, 66, 

90, 95-98, 106, 153 
Ben Yehuda, Eliezer, 47, 57, 

58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 113, 

146 

Ben-Zvi, 65, 66 
Bethlehem, 34, 38 
Bible, 15, 23, 109 
Biluim, 47 
Byzantium, 28 
Canaan, 1, 2, 3, 4. 152 
Canaanites, 2, 3, 4,5 
Capernaum, 13, 10 1 
CaracaUa, 20 
Chaldean, 10 
Chalutzim, 54, 56, 74, 75 
Chassidic, 40 

Churchill, Winston, 71, 74 
Constantinople, 31, 32, 37 
Cr&nieux. Adolphe, 44 
Crusades, 31. 32, 33, 34, 67, 

102, 117, 119 
Cyrus, 10, 19, 69. Ill 
Damascus, 34, 35, 101, 105 
David, King, 5, 6, 8, 37, 39, 

101, 111, 115, 148 
Diaspora, 36, 43, 44, 52, 153 



Haifa, 67, 74, 104, 109, 110, 

H^^h, 6 43, 48, 65, 112 
Hanukkah, 11 



Nazareth, 12, 13, 34, 116, 



Exodus 3 4 

Fellnhm, 47, 55, 65, 76, 107 

Galilee, 12, 13, 18, 34, 55, 

100, 102, 117, 141, 156 
Galuth, 20, 96 
Gordon, A. D., 53, 54, 55, 

56, 57, 75, 120, 130-132 
Greek, ll, 17, 64, 65, 101 
Hadassah. 81, 82, 107, 114, 

135-1^0 
Haganah, 86, 90, 91 



anua, 

Hebiew, 3, 5, 8, 9, 15, 43, 
61, 



57,58,59,60,61,62. 
79, 10&, 129, 134, 160 



Heraclms, 21, 26 
Herod, 12, 112 
Herzl, Theodor, 48, 49, 50, 
51, 52, 59, 93, 94, 109, 

Histadruth, 57, 110, 130, 

131-133, 134, 146 
Irgun Zvai Leumi, 87, 88, 90 
Isaac, 2, 62, 160 



_ _ _ _ , Nordau, Max, 50, 52 

62, 78, Normans, 32 

Omar, 21, 25, 27, 114 
Paul. 16 

Persians, 9, 10, 22 
Pharisees, 12, 13, 14 
Philistine, 3, 5 
Phoenicians, 2 



, 

Isaiah, 8, 9 
Islam, 21, 



sam, , 22, 25, 30, 36 
Israel, 2, 6, 13, 15, 57, 62, 

90, 96, 99, l55, 153, 159, 

160 

Israelites, 7, 8 
Jacob, 2 

Jaffa, 25, 37, 53, 72, 109 
Jeremiah, 7, 9 
Jerusalem, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 

16, 17, 18, 20, 26, 28, 29, 

30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 

38, 39, 42, 61, 65, 76, 83, 

90 91,92, 110, 111-113, 

117, ll9, 125, 147, 160 
Jesus, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 

36, 38 lOl, 116, Il7 
Jordan, 3, 4, 13, 18. 19, 26, 

55, 99, 100, idl, 103, 

10k 
Jordan, Kingdom of, 91, 93, 

99,105,156 
Joseph, 3 
Joshua, 4 
Judah. 6, 7 
Justinian, 20 
Kibbutz, 56, 57, 120-124, 

132, 141 

Knesset, 143. 146, 155 
Kol Israel, 147, 148 
Koran, 23 

Lloyd, George, 61, 94 
Lydda, 119 

Maccabeus, Judas, 11, 111 
Maimonidcs, 36 
Masorah, 28, 102 
Mecca, 22, 23, 24, 26, 68 
Medina, 24 

Mendelssohn, Moses, 41 
Mesopotamia, 1 
Mess/ah, 6, 14, 16, 17, 40 
MKlrnsh, 28 
Mishnah, 18 
Mohammed, 22, 23, 24, 25, 

26, 30, 118 
Montefiore, Moses, 42, 43, 

45,112 

Moses, 3, 4, 19, 62 
Moshav, 56, 57, 119, 122, 

123, 124, 132, 141 
Napoleon, 38, 118 

166 



Pope, 31, 34, 66 

Romans, 12, 15, 17, 18, 29, 

Rothschild, Baron de, 42, 48, 

49, 50, 53, 69 
Sadduoees, 12, 14, 15 
Satad, 42, 65, 76 
Saladin, 33, 34 
Samaria, 7, 11, 25, 100 
Samaritans, 18, 19, 27 
Samuel, 5 
Saul, 5, 6 

Sephardic, 42, 60, 154 
Septuagint, 11 
Sharctt, Moshe, 96 
Shechem, 1, 19 
Smolenskin, Perez, 47 
Solomon, 6, 36, 105 
Syria, 20, 25, 30, 38, 67, 68, 

70, 91, 93, 99 
Syrians, 11, 12, 154 
Szold, Henrietta, 77-84, 

135, 136. 137. i 38 
Talmud, 20, 28, 29, 102, 

125 

Tartars, 34 
Tcchnion, 61, 109, 110, 127, 

129 
Tel Aviv 74, 90, 106, 108, 

Tiberias, 18, 28, 29, 33, 40, 

56, 65, 102, 123 
Torah, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 

18, 125 

rq ,'!, 7 4a lt tn " 



_^ T _ S2 

University/ frebrcw, 04, 114, 

126, 129, 147, 155 
Warburg, Otto, 53 
Wei'/mtinn, Clmim, 65, 66, 

70, 71, 72, 76, 80, 9d, 03, 

94, 95, 98, 130 
Yemen, 22, 01 
Yishuv, 65, 72, 36, 37, 88, 

89,65,08,125 
Zealots, 12, 13, 17 
Zorubbabel, 10, 39 
Zion, 14. 20, 28, 35, 37, 30, 

41. 45, 53, m 15ft, 150, 

Zionist, 10, 4, 4fl< 48, 50,